As I continued to evaluate the website Zero to Three, there have been several new insights I have gained, new information I have learned, and new ideas I have discovered along the way. I have found that my knowledge about early childhood education has grown by leaps and bounds through this fantastic resource.
Specific Information Relevant to My Current Professional Development
While this website have an enormous about of information, there were two particular sections that very well to my current professional development:
- School Readiness Interactive Tool (click here to access this resource)
This interactive tool is an excellent resource to help caregivers, parents, and families learn how to shape and guide early learning for children. This resource breaks down the early childhood years into three categories: Birth to 12 months, 12-24 months, and 24-36 months. Within each age category, there are four different groups: language and literacy, thinking skills, self-control, and self-confidence. With a click on each of these groups, there are video clips, parent-child activities, frequently asked questions, and (coming soon) related resources. Since I currently have a three year old, I explored the 24-36 month section. Below is just a snippet of what I found
In the Language and Literacy section, it talked about teaching language and literacy through everyday moments. One of the suggested parent-child activities was to go pretend shopping. In the Self-Control section, one of the tips was to respond to tantrums in a way that helps teach self-control. An activity is to play red light, green light to help improve self-control skills. One of the frequently asked questions was how to shop with an active two year old (Zero to Three, 2012).Overall, I found this resource to be very relevant in my current professional development, as it covers significant learning areas in a child from birth to three years old. Furthermore, I can utilize a lot of the activities within my daily activities and lesson plans, with follow-up recommendations to families. This resource connected well with me, as it will be one I use on a regular basis in my personal and professional development.
- Developmental Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation: Key Elements for Individualizing Curricula in Early Head Start Programs (click here to read this article)This in-depth article covers developmental screening, assessment, and evaluation in early childhood education. It begins with definitions of the above terms. It is then followed by an approach and guideline to screening, assessment, and evaluation, which includes using multiple resources, involving the family, remaining culturally sensitive, and ensuring that the staff is well-trained. This article also discusses what the avoid and how plan for curriculum and ongoing assessment. A list of resources and reviews of screening and assessment tests are included in the appendix.
Considering my background in special education, I am hoping to bring this into my everyday work environment. However, instructing other staff members how to accurrately and appropriately screen, assess, and evaluate young children for suspected delays can be a challenge. When I came across this resource, I was impressed by its depth and coverage for how to apply developmental screenings, assessments, and evaluations for young children. This resource is relevant in my current professional development, as it will come in handy as I work with more children from various backgrounds and development levels. In addition, as I begin to take on the role of administration, I will utilize this resource to help staff members under my leadership to learn the proper way to screen and assess a child with developmental delays.
Ideas/Statements/Resources that Made Me Think In a New Way
As I explored this website, there were a few sections that really put a new light on some issues within early childhood education. While I had previous thoughts and ideas related to certain issues, the way Zero to Three presented information challenged me to see things in a new way.
- Play (click here to learn more about play)
While I am beginning to see how significant play is in the lives of young children, the Zero to Three resources shed a new light on just how crucial this issue is.
* On the Move is a booklet that shares the significance of play during the first three years of a child’s life. There are suggested activities to incorporate into daily playing, tips on what toys to buy, and what to do for children with special needs. This resource helped me realized the the environment that a child is playing in is important. If it is too cluttered or has distraction, play may not be as beneficial. I never considered the physical environment as a factor in play, however now I can see how important it is to create a child-friendly environment for play. To read more from this booklet, please click here.
* Playtime True and False really helped to dispel a lot of myths I carried about play during early childhood. This power point presentation explained that play happens everywhere and doesn’t have to be organized. While I have somewhat grasped this concept, I was able to gain a new view on how we as caregivers and parents need to utilize every moment we have, as children are constantly learning. In addition, this presentation also emphasized that it is important for children to receive outdoor play, as it addresses more gross motor skills. I typically considered play as an indoor activity, however this resource showed me that it is vital for children to get outside to stretch, run, and play. A final thing I learned about play is that sharing is a complex skill. As children are play, professionals often urge them to share their toys. However, the trait of learning may not be developed yet in young children, so they may not actually know how to play. I was fascinated by this fact, and I have found that this new view on play has changed what I expect from children. To view this power point presentation and additional resources on play, please click here.
- Social Emotional Development
The section on social emotional development (click here to access this page with plenty of resources) provided a new light on different aspects that influence young children. Specifically, there was an article about the male influence on young children and the positive effects that this brings. This helped me to see that it is important to encourage both parents (if there are two parents) to actively participate in their child’s learning and growth. (To read this article, please click here.) In addition, I also gained a new insight about music and the impact that it leaves on the quality of life. (This article is found here). The social emotional development resource page contained excellent resources that showed me the different factors that shape this developmental domain in young children.
Neuroscientists, Economists, and Politicians: Their Support
The Zero to Three website contained valuable information on how neuroscientists, economists, and politicians support the field of early childhood education. Below are just some of the resources that this website shared:
- Since maltreatment in early childhood education leads to high rates of disorganized attachment and developmental delays, developmental neuroscientists have documented how early intervention and child welfare policies can help reduce or reverse these adverse effects of maltreatment. (Full article is located here).
- Child abuse and neglect should become a public health priority, as scientists have discovered how abuse and neglect could produce negative implications on the brain, often lasting into adulthood. If public health made this issue a prior, the adverse effects of child abuse and neglect could be properly addressed, producing more optimal results for the child and the society at large. (Click here for full PDF article.)
- Trauma carries significant long-term effects on children. Emotional regulation and other developmental areas are negatively impacted, adversely influencing a child into adulthood. Developmental psychologists have documented the research about the negative implications expose to trauma brings and have identified different protective factors that could help counteract the negativity this issue brings. (Find the full article here.)
Through reading about these research findings and different contributions from neuroscientists, scientists, and psychologists, I was able to further understand how important the role of these individuals plays in the field of early childhood education. While educators can apply their experience-based knowledge, they usually are not able to provide the researched-based findings. They must rely on neuroscientists and economists for this information. Utilizing this information, politicians will hopefully be able to see that further investment is needed for these young children. I am now able to understand that neuroscientists, economists, and politicians play a valuable role in supporting early childhood education to advance funding and more research about the development of young children. Pairing this with the knowledge from educators, more children will be able to reach, which will optimize their learning and development.
I am amazed that I never stop learning through reading from the Zero to Three website. There are always new insights about the issues and trends in early childhood education that I gain each time I visit this website.
- When I explored the public policy section, I learned about the different types of systems are are used to build up a high-quality early childhood program. In addition, I also discovered how the Congress and administration can further enhance the young lives of children through legislation and policies. I also gained new insights about the state and community involvement in early childhood education. Through this section, I learned that public policy is a significant factor in the issues and trends in this field and carry a heavy influence both directly and indirectly in the lives of children.
- Another insight I gained is not particularly an issue or trend, however it is related. The Zero to Three website has a special section for grandparents. I was curious about this section, so I decided to browse through the resources. I was shocked to discover the large influence that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. So often we tend to focus on parents and caregivers that grandparents are sometimes forgotten. However, it is important to remember that they impact their grandchildren in unique ways. This section has several resources specifically geared towards grandparents, including how they can work with their adult child to parent the young child. This new insight challenged me to encompass all of the people who influence a child during development, as each person is significant. If there is not a smooth connection between a parent and a grandparent, the child may feel (or even receive) the consequences from this. As an early childhood professional, it is crucial to stress the importance of positive interactions between all generations that will leave a good influence on the learning and development of young children.
Overall, this website continues to challenge and shape my personal and professional growth. I am excited to continue to explore the numerous resources that Zero to Three has to offer and apply it to my life journey.