I have continued to explore in-depth the website of Zero to Three, which has challenged me to think and learn about early childhood education in new and exciting ways. My personal and professional growth has deepened, and I am gaining additional tools to utilize for my current and future work with children, families, and the community. Below you will find new pieces of information, fresh insights, and fantastic resources that I have recently found through this website.
New Discoveries of External Links ….
While Zero to Three contains wonderful resources and information within the context of the website without having to go to another external source, I decided to peruse a few outside links to see where I would end up. I discovered …
- In the About Us section, one can easily access the Funded Projects tab on the left hand side that leads to a few external links of how Zero to Three supports additional projects to help foster healthy development during the early years. (You can find this Funded Projects page here.) Simply click on your choice of funded project, which will take you to a description page of how Zero to Three provides supports, and some are followed by an external link for more information. These were two of the external links I explored:
- Early Head Start National Resource Center works on the communication systems and people network, building up knowledge, and providing development for programs. When you click here, you will be directed to the Zero to Three page about this project, which will then have the link for Early Head Start National Resource Center. Upon clicking on this external link, I was propelled into a world of fascinating information about the support of the Early Head Start programs in the field of education.
National Center on Child Care Professional Development Systems and Workforce Initiatives
(PDW Center) The description on the Zero to Three website can be located here. After reviewing this page, there is an external link connecting readers to the Office of Child Care‘s website. This website provides excellent resources in regards to funding, initiatives, policy and programs, and technical assistance.
- Nearing the bottom of the website of Zero to Three, there are four teal-green buttons with a few external links. While one of them directs reads to Early Head Start, as listed above, another button directly links followers to the website of Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Technical Assistance. ( You can find it right here.) This website provides additional information about the Home Visiting program, as well as grant opportunities, webinars, and technical assistance guidance in regards to this program. This external link provides outstanding resources about the home visiting initiative.
Thorough Evaluation of Early Childhood Mental Health
Throughout my educational journey, my awareness about child development, early learning, and early interventions has widened extensively. However, I am still learning about the impact of early childhood mental health, as I was never fully aware that this was a significant issue for young children. Therefore, I opted to explore this area on the website in-depth to discover more about this topic. I found …
- … On the Main Page of Early Childhood Mental Health (found here)
- A description of infant mental health and what research and practice is actively doing to help promote healthy development in this area
- A short video clip of an experiment called “Still Face” paradigm, which looked at the reactions of an infant when a parent/caregiver suddenly stopped being responsive
- Additional resources that support this issue
- …. Little Kids, Big Questions Podcast (listen here)
- A series of 12 podcasts that cover a range of tough issues when dealing with early childhood
- While the topics covered topics on a broad spectrum, a few of them were pertinent to early childhood mental health like:
- Effective strategies that help promote a healthy sense of mental health development (see full descriptions here)
- Promotion: Reaches out to families to answer questions about usual behavior/development
- Prevention: Helping families who are in stressful situations
- Treatment: Direct intervention to help deter the negative impact of stressful situations on a child’s mental health
- Connections to the DC:0-3R, a Zero to Three diagnostic manual for early child mental health. You can access this phenomenal resource here.
- Additional resources, reports, and papers that highlight early childhood mental health (Full access and complete list of resources is located here.)
After evaluating this area closely, I was shocked to see the amount of research and support this issue has been receiving, both in past and current. As more research and data documents the development of young children additional investment in early childhood mental health will be made, which will hopefully help identify and address potential problems in young children before they get out-of-hand. This area made me realize how important a holistic approach to child development is, as the entire child needs to be address in order to ensure optimal growth and success.
E-Newsletter: Not a Reality
Even though I subscribed to two different e-Newsletters in the beginning of January, I still have yet to receive anything from Zero to Three in my inbox. In lieu of this missing information, I decided read the policy blog, which discusses policy issues that impact children and families. (Read the entire blog here.) Several of the issues discussed in this blog are related to those that are currently being studied throughout this course. Some new pieces of information I picked up were:
- President Obama’s Second Inauguration challenges early childhood educators to seize the moment and advocate for the policies that create equal opportunities for all children, especially for those in poverty or at-risk. This blog post helped me see that early childhood educators are on the front-line defense in advocacy. We must raise our voices to start policy awareness.
- Another blog post discussed the issue of accessibility (or lack thereof) in early childhood education. It discussed how important strong relationships and positive early learning experiences, both of which are in quality early learning programs, are in the life of a child. However, supply and access to such programs remains varied across the state. This post helped me to see how access to quality early childhood education needs to improve in order for all children to have an opportunity.
Overall, this blog provides practical suggestions and tips for effective policy advocacy from families and professionals.
Equity and Excellence … Additional Insights
One of the many aspects that I admire about this website is the wide audience it appeals to. Professionals can find endless resources to help support their knowledge, families can find practical (and helpful) information specifically geared to their child’s age, and even policymakers are able to learn how various policies and legislation are influencing this field. Therefore, the Zero to Three website contains an array of resources and policy briefs about the issue of equity and excellence in early care and education. Some of the information I gleaned that added to my understanding was:
- Even though at-risk children would probably receive the most benefits from quality early childhood education, this group is more likely to have access poorer quality early learning programs, which will not help with optimal growth and success. Congress has the position to create supports and help expand the accessibility issue for at-risk children through a variety of resources, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This piece of information taught me that the government plays a vital role in this field and needs to increase their involvement if all children are to be reached. (To read this brief in full, please click here.)
- In order to be responsive in early childhood education, it is imperative that educators are well-compensated and have a expertise in the specific development of young children. This will increase the level of effectiveness and quality in a program, as teachers will be able to adequately respond to the specific needs of children.
- In conjunction with professional knowledge, as stated above, it is imperative that teachers have training in how to handle early childhood mental health. Children are being exposed more and more to depression and trauma at a young age, which could increase the level of referrals and interventions through a mental health spectrum. This tidbit of information really helped me to see how vital high levels of education among professionals, including knowledge about child mental health, is in this field. Without this knowledge, children will not be effectiveness reached or responded to. (For additional information about professional development as stated in the two above points, please read this brief.)
Additional New Insights Gleaned …
In addition to the above information, there were a few new insights I gained along the way above the issues and trends in early childhood education.
- On the Federal Policy Updates page, I discovered a link about the federal budget process. This article documented the step-by-step process that the federal government takes to enforce a set budget in the field of early childhood education. This article was excellent, as it describes very clearly how a budget is passed. In addition, there are practical suggestions for advocating. This article taught me that I have numerous opportunities to advocate for funding through the budget process. I don’t have to wait for a specific period to raise my voice. Advocacy efforts can and should occur from the beginning of the proposed budget to the end. (To read this article, please click here.)
- As I briefly explored the Health and Nutrition page, I stumbled across an article about optimal eating. Since my son has profound feeding difficulties, I have always assumed that I need to remain in charge and in control when it came to feeding times. However,this article shared that children can regulate their own food and must be able to initiate the acceptance of food. This new insight about the feeding relationship showed me how I was approaching feeding incorrectly. Not only will I be able to improve feeding times with my son, but I will also utilize this new insight in my professional career as well. (To read about The Feeding Problem, click here.)
Overall, exploring the Zero to Three website has expanded and deepened my current knowledge about early childhood education. I discovered numerous pieces of new information and insights, which has shaped and guided my professional development.