Getting to Know Your International Contacts – Part 1

26 Jan

Sadly, I must write that I have not been able to make any personal connections with international early childhood educators. It was an honest attempt over the past few weeks, with over 50 international educators contacted through different media outputs. I initially began with email addresses provided through the blog resources  in week 1. The only email that I received back (other than those that were returned to me for erroneous email addresses) requested that I find another professional, as a Walden student had already contacted them first. Therefore, I decided to find a few early childhood organizations through the popular media, Facebook. I was able to leave messages for two different groups, one located in Tanzania and the other in Australia. I actually heard back from both organizations, requesting more information. Emails were sent back to them with details and specific questions. However, it has been several days with no response. Therefore, I turned to the alternative to this assignment by listening to two pod casts through the World Forum Radio.

Irma Allen, Swaziland Development Authority radio_allen
(click here to listen)

Irma Allen is the Chairperson to the Swaziland Development Authority. In her pod cast, she shared with her listeners about utilizing the nature and environment around her. With nature being her classroom, she uses the nature as supplies to teach children, ranging from the dew on the trees, the water in the streams, or even the spiderwebs sparkling in the sun. Through the use of this “curriculum,” students (and even educators) are able to grow a deeper fondness and appreciation for the environment and world. Ms. Allen ended her pod cast with an example of a former student who went through this program. The student spoke highly of what he learned, including the fact that he felt loved and developed an appreciation for his home, environment, and the world. Although he had a rough past growing up, his early childhood experience gave him a place and role in life (Allen, 2009).

Listening to Ms. Allen’s pod cast, I am challenged to use the nature as supplies to teach my lessons. I would love to take the children outdoors and teach them through the snow, sun, wind, and even rain (under appropriate conditions). I was able to connect the fact that through using nature, not only are children learning academically, they are also developing an appreciation for the world around them. This fantastic program emphasizes a lot of great points, and I plan to incorporate them into my own daily lesson plans.

Delfina Mitchell, Liberty Children’s Home, Belize radio_mitchell
(click here to listen)

Delfina Mitchell is the director of Liberty Children’s House in Belize. This organization currently houses 42 children who have suffered from physical or sexual abuse, been abandoned or neglected. When a child first comes to this group home, they are given a period to heal and regroup from negative experiences, rather than being thrown into a school setting immediately. Ms. Mitchell shared a story about a nine year old boy who had come to this program within the past year. Due to extensive abuse and exposure to it, the boy wouldn’t speak. A home school setting was initiated for him, with an attempt to then transition into a more public school setting. This, however, was unsuccessful, as the boy was kicked out within a week. During a 30 minute horseback ride with Ms. Mitchell, the small boy began to speak about his past experiences. Although he was speaking, his language was difficult to hear, with apparent regression. The boy began to slowly be exposed to informal school time and plenty of time in the gardens. With the right amount of medication and schooling time, the boy is beginning to talk more and more (Mitchell, 2009).

As I listened to Ms. Mitchell’s pod cast, I was saddened to hear about the amount of abuse children endure in Central America. Furthermore, I was shocked to learn about the boy’s regression due to the amount of abuse he faced. This pod cast has taught me that children who are healing from abusive situations need plenty of time to heal on their own accord. A child cannot be rushed, and time is of the essence when gently guiding them back on track. There is no cookie-cutter mold for these children, as every child will have to be individually addressed. While I was discouraged to hear about children who face negative situations, I was pleased to know that Ms. Mitchell is impacted the lives of these children in a positive manner that will prepare them for future success.

 header_1After listening to these two pod casts, I searched for contact information for Ms. Allen and Ms. Mitchell. Emails were sent out to both of them, however no response has been received yet. In lieu of responses, I explored the Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre’s website to learn more about the poverty in India.

India (click here to learn more)map-india

Out of the 1.03 billion citizens in India, 260.2 million are in poverty, which puts this country at the top of the list for having the majority of poor people within South Asia.

Listed below are some of the insights I gained from researching about this country and poverty:

  •  Poverty hits areas, regions, and people in different wayssThroughout India, poverty affects regions in different ways. The rural area is often hit the hardest, suffering from a “lack of access to assets, skills, and low levels of health and education” (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, n.d).
  • With an increase in population, the resources to address poverty also needs to grow.As Asia faces a “growing population, industrialization and globalization” (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, n.d.). Tremendous pressure is placed on the healthcare system, as communicable and uncommunicable diseases are on the rise, especially among those in poverty.
  • Poverty in India has increased the amount of child labors, negatively impacting learning and development.While improvements are being made to help reduce infant morality rates and to improve school enrollment, almost half of the child population in India struggle with malnutrition. Furthermore, “20% of the world’s out-of-school children” (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, n.d.) are from India, with almost one-third of those children working under the age of 16.
  • Even though poverty remains a significant issue, action is being taken to help reduce poverty.

    Programs that are aimed to erase poverty or at least minimize the damage caused by it are directed by the central government. Three main programs are used to help reduce poverty: “rural employment creation and infrastructure development programmes, self-employment, and food subsidy programs” (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, n.d.). In addition, various rural work programs are also available. The Integrated Child Development Service Programs specifically targets children from birth to six years old (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, n.d.). 

Completing this assignment this week has really opened my eyes to the consequences negative experiences can have on children throughout their lives, but it also revealed a lot of different strategies and programs throughout the world that are working to help eliminate this negatively, which will help children reach their optimal potential.


Allen, I. (2009, December 11). Episode 7: Irma Allen. World Forum Radio. Podcast Retrieved from

Child Poverty Research and Policy Centre. (n.d.). Country Overviews [India]. Retrieved from

Mitchell, D. (2009, November 2). Episode 3: Delfina Mitchell. World Forum Radio. Podcast Retrieved from


Posted by on January 26, 2013 in International Contacts, Week 3


3 responses to “Getting to Know Your International Contacts – Part 1

  1. Lauren Risher

    January 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I can relate with you about how frustrating it is to not have gotten in contact with anyone. It was interesting to see we choose the same podcast professional. As an educator I have made a goal for myself and that is to make sure that I make a difference in each and every child i come encounter with. I look forward to reading more.


  2. Christina Person

    January 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Erin, this is fantastic! You tried to convers with an international EC Professional but you came up with more information in the podcasts. Irma Allen was amazing, I work at an environmental preschool and this is my emphasis in early education. I’ve been to Belize, it is so sad what comes from poverty like this child, major abuse. I know we have local therapy through horses that is very successful, I wonder if this is similar to how Delfinia Mitchell was able to get the boy to speak. Thank you for this great information and podcasts!

  3. Althea Richardson-Walter

    January 28, 2013 at 1:01 am

    It is indeed frustrating not being able to interact with these International educators, however I did enjoy your blog and your indept research and sharing with others. Do continue to be a great educator not just to your children you interact with but also to use our colleagues and anyone else reading your blogs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: