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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National/Federal Level

When I first started to read about this assignment, I was so excited to finally start mentioning some of my favorite early childhood organizations. So, I began the research days ago. I started with NAEYC, as I just know that this organization would be such a hot topic. It wasn’t until I got into the middle of researching the Council for Exceptional Children that I realized these organizations were national international organizations! (Stay tuned though for my next post highlighting these international organizations!) I had to start all over again, refining my focus on just those organizations or agencies that spanned across the Unites States. I’m so glad that I had this challenge of narrowing my focus, because I found some amazing organizations and agencies that operate here within the United States. While there were certainly a lot to pick and choose from, I narrowed it down to twelve, err, no six, nope … how about four? Continue to read on about these four fabulous early childhood national or federal organizations that appeal specifically to me and my professional passion.

NCCA

National Child Care Association

I absolutely love the idea behind this organization, as it strives to help families identify a licensed, high-quality early learning program or child care center. This is such an important factor for the learning and development of young children – high quality! When these kiddos are exposed to such a high level of quality, they will truly be able to capture their ideal learning and growth potential! I was also impressed that this organization has been successful influencing “the private sector at state and national policy and legislative tables” (National Child Care Association, n.d.). It also offers a lobbying team, conferences, resources, articles, and so much more! This is definitely an organization that has captured my interest as their passion for high quality child care or early learning is so contagious! I’d love to become involve in the lobbying aspects, as I believe that more federal legislation needs to be considered for optimal learning and growth for young children. The annual membership dues for an individual is a steal for $25 (National Child Care Association, n.d.)! If this interested you, feel free to explore their website in depth at http://www.nccanet.org.

NEA

National Education Association 

Ok, so this organization might seem a bit out of the ordinary. You may be asking yourself, wait … public education?!?! Does she know that we are actually studying early childhood education? Don’t get me wrong – we are definitely focusing on the little ones, however I really was interested in this association, as it strives to raise awareness about the importance of public education (which actually can include preschool). I liked their stance that public education is both a human right and a civil right – really, it’s an equal opportunity for all children. This supports my deep professional passion for including all children, regardless of ability, to receive a free and appropriate education. This association’s website is also stocked full of such amazing resources, like lesson plans, teaching strategies, advice, funding opportunities, and upcoming events. The individual membership dues run about $24 (National Education Association, 2014). Considering this organization? Find more informaiton at http://www.nea.org.

ZTT

Zero to Three

This nonprofit organization began in 1977 and is by far one of my favorite national organizations for early childhood education. Not only are there excellent resources, but this entire organization really embraces a collaborative effort by reaching out to families, parents, professionals, and even policy makers. Remember Bronfenbenner’s ecological theory? I feel that this organization spans across each of these levels, helping to make an even bigger impact on the learning and development of children. In addition, they also look at early childhood from so many different perspectives – social, physical, emotional, relational, and linguistically – to foster the awareness that a child’s development is truly interrelated. The website is chalked full of resources for a variety of audiences, including journal articles, research and even a public policy kit. I urge you to check out this organization, as they might have excellent resources for your issue/challenge (Zero to Three: National center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, 2012). See http://www.zerotothree.org for more information.

OEL

Office of Early Learning

Lastly, but certainly not least, I decided to explore the realm of federal agencies to see if there was any support for early learning and development. This committee or agency (I’m not really sure which type of group it is considered) actually works to support the United States Department of Education’s Early Learning Initiative to help improve the overall development of the learning and development of children. This federal committee really intrigued me, as they oversee different grants, like the Race to the Top. I am definitely interested in learning more about this federal organization (committee?) to help support different grant opportunities for early childhood education (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). Are you interested too? If so, check out www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oel/aboutus.html

Federal or National Job Opportunities

Of course no research would be complete without looking up different job opportunities! In my last post, I explored various local and state possibilities, so I wondered is there anything out there remotely within my reach on a nationally level. With a bit of digging, I managed to find three different opportunities that actually interested me. Some are definitely within my reach, while others may need a bit more experience or education. Without any further adue, the three job opportunities are:

SCSinTD

This job opportunity resides within Washington D.C., so if I ever wanted to relocated from my home state of Pennsylvania, this might be the place I end up at! (How far do you think that commute would be every day?!?!) Anyway, before I get side tracked, a Senior Confidential Specialist (in Training and Development) primarily works with training adults. Basically, I would design, create, develop, deliver, coordinate, and evaluate an employee training program. Now, don’t get me wrong – working with children is such a joy, however I am definitely up to the challenge of working with adults. Besides, I absolutely love to design and create things, so this may just be up my alley. The job requirements calls for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (check mark!), but a Master’s degree in preferred (coming up!). In addition, I need at least five years of experience working in creating, developing, and delivering training for adults. (Uh oh! This is definitely an area that I need to focus on and build up, as my years in this experience fall into a big fat zero!) However, I do have the strong communication and problem-solving skills, but I do think I need to gain more experience in curriculum and instruction design, as well as more knowledge about it too! Looks like I am well on my way for this job, but I still have some ways to go (National Education Association, 2014).

SPA

Ok, so maybe the above job didn’t quite fit my skills and expertise at this moment in the game, but how about a Senior Program Associate? This job really held my interest, as it involves a lot of technical support to the Birth to Three Institute. (Remember how much I adore the Zero to Three organization? It just so happens that this job is related to it!) So, basically, I would be providing a lot of technical assistance and training to different organizations and agencies, like Early Head Start, in regards to designated meetings and conferences. I would also provide administrative support, which just so happens to be something I am an expert at! Looking at the job requirements, I definitely have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, as well as the collaborate and creative skills needed. In addition, I am a technological savvy (another skill needed), however I should be refined and enhance  my technology knowledge and expertise. Otherwise, I fit right into this job (Zero to Three, n.d.).

ERSA

Well, as long as we are shooting for a long-term job opportunity, we might as well add a Education Research Scientist/Analyst to the bucket list. I do desire to become an educator, not really a scientist; however exploring and diving into research articles definitely captures my interest. I love to see how methods are completed, as well as the results with the follow-up recommendations or discussions. Therefore, becoming an education research scientist doesn’t sound terrible, but rather exciting. I’d love to become part of a research team that helps to shape the future world of early learning! Although this job sounds great (with excellent pay and benefits, might I mention), there are a lot of requirements that I don’t quite fit into yet. The biggest one? A doctoral degree. I am going for a doctorate Master’s degree however, so I am a step closer – but I do need to gain more education before even considering this job. In addition, I need to have at least five years of experience related to educational science (how does one go about getting that anyhow?), as well as at least five years of research experience (United States Office of Personnel Management, 2014). Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for this job, but it sure is a nice goal to reach towards!

So, that is just touching the surface of the national or federal agencies/organizations that support early childhood education, as well as a few job opportunities on the national level. Stay tuned for my next post, which will explore international organizations (and maybe a few job opportunities too!).

Until then, your colleague-in-crime, Erin

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in National Support, Week 4

 

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

Ok, I’ll admit, I live in such a tiny bubble within my community. Honestly, the biggest city from my hometown is about 45 minutes away. Sure, we enjoy shopping and hitting the big city once in a while, but within my area, we are very small. So small, in fact, that the idea of early childhood organizations or communities of practice never really dawned on me. I have heard, of course, of National Association for the Education of Young Children; however, that is a nationally recognized organization for early childhood. Could it be that there are in fact local and state organizations for early childhood education? Should I take a daring further step and ask, “Would they even appeal to me?” Within the course of one evening, my mind was overwhelmed by how much support the local and state levels have to offer early childhood education. Not only are there organizations and communities of practice, but they actually appeal to me – sweet, hometown ol’ me! Allow me to introduce you to a few of them:

DIPCPI was SO excited to discover this organization, which focuses on current issues related to inclusion and diversity. This organization truly adopts a community of practice attitude by offering regular meetings and including a diverse amount of people, like businesses, educational representatives, health care representatives, and even those who represent the law. To me, this is a true picture of a diverse community of practice. I was drawn to this organization primarily because it fosters a community of practice that focuses on my professional passion of inclusion. Not only would I be able to meet countless individuals who share my passion, I would also be able to gain a wealth of resources of how to become an even bigger advocate for inclusion, as well as so many other topics. In addition, I really liked this organization because it discusses controversial topics, like LGBT in the work place. I would absolutely love to engage in this type of organization to expand my own knowledge about these issues. Does this group appeal to you? If so, please feel free to visit their website at: http://diversityinclusionpcp.org/.

PennAEYCSo, how about a raise of hands for those who did not know that NAEYC has state-affiliated organizations, like the PennAEYC? Well, if you raised your hand, it’s ok. I’m in the same boat. With just a bit of research, my awareness about state early childhood organizations raised significantly! The PennAEYC is indeed the state affiliation of NAEYC. I adore the NAEYC and the various stances they take about countless topics within early childhood education. Therefore, this group appealed to me with just the simple letters of NAEYC, however I was drawn more so to this group because it is within my own state. Rather than just networking with professionals nationwide (which is still a great practice), I will be able to join forces with professionals within my own state! Through this resource, I hope to gain additional resources and networking leads for my own community of practice, as well as join additional communities of practice to enhance my professional knowledge and understanding. Interested in this state- affiliated NAEYC group? Visit their website at: http://www.pennaeyc.com. (Or maybe your state has its own affiliation – a simple google search is so helpful!)

PAKeys

I love, love, love the Pennsylvania KeyStone Stars program, which is an accreditation program to produce high quality early childhood centers. This is a state-wide organization, however the state is broken down into different regions, like the Northeast region (which is where I am from). I am interested in this specific organization (as in the Northeast region), because it will definitely allow me to build a broader network of professional support within my own area. In addition, I will hopefully be able to work with local centers on achieving the next star in the accreditation program. At the state wide level, the Keystone Stars is a great program that works well to advocate for high quality early learning environments. I’ve had the honor of working for two different centers who were enrolled in this program, and the difference between stars is outstanding! In addition, there are grants and awards provided for each star earned. Currently, there is only one 4-star center within my community (which is one of the highest levels, if not the highest, a center can go). I’m excited to partner with the Northeast Region to advocate for more 4-star centers in my community. Read more about this organization at: http://www.cscinc.org/northeast-regional-key

LH Alright, so the Lauren’s Hope Foundation may not be a professional organization, however I felt it was an important foundation to mention, as it works to provide support for children with brain injuries and their families. Since this aligns smack dab with my professional passion, I adore this foundation. Perhaps I should mention that I am actually apart of this foundation, as a parent since my son suffered from a brain injury at birth. This foundation offers seasonal activities, like a Mother’s Day massage and breakfast with Santa. It may not sound like much, but hosting these activities offers parents and families additional support from other families and professionals. It is a tremendous help! In addition, this foundation is a part of a community of practice that works to provide hyperthermia treatment for newborns with brain injuries. Amazing, right? Read more at http://www.laurenshopefoundation.com.

A Shift in Thinking …

Here’s another confessions: I enrolled in this Master’s degree program with the intentions of becoming a director at an early childhood program. It was a simple ambition, and I thought for sure that role would be enough to make a difference within my community. While I am not saying that it is not enough, after completing all of these courses, I realized that my ambition has changed. I am inspired, motivated perhaps, to take on a professional role that would involve working within a community and perhaps with multiple centers, not just one. I desire for my advocacy and professionalism to impact as many people as possible. Therefore, I shifted my thinking from being a director to becoming something more in early childhood education. However, my question remained: what more is out there for early childhood education? Alas … there is more … so much more. Here are just a few of the job opportunities I came across that really interest me:

cdp

Child Development Partner

Doesn’t this sound super awesome? This job opportunity would allow me to work with a variety of families by “providing comprehensive child development and family development services” (Community Services for Children, 2010a). Being a mommy-to-be or a brand-new mommy, you are faced with so many changes that thinking about child development seems like a foreign idea. However, with this role, I would be able to become an advocate and provide these new families with this information, enabling them to become better advocate themselves. This aligns directly with my vision of being a professional, hence, it’s truly an ideal job. While I have most of the skills and experience needed to fulfill this job, I would probably need additional experience working with infants and toddlers (as my little boy is nearly 5!), and working on my rusty Spanish is a must! However, other than that, I believe I am prepared to meet the majority of these job qualifications.

PDS

Professional Development Specialist

This role really grabbed at my professional core, at it deals with training other professionals to “increase educator proficiency in the teaching of STEM education” (Pittsburgh Technology Center, 2009). While I adore working with children and their families, one of my secret passions is training other professionals to increase their competency and ability to provide high quality care. This job opportunity sounds like a dream to me, as I would be able to design and create professional development sessions and instill in others my passion for high quality early childhood education. Furthermore, I’d get to present at “regional, state, and national conferences” (Pittsburgh Technology Center, 2009), which would allow me to truly impact a LOT of people. While this job opportunity sounds great, I would need to become a PQAS Instructor (or be willing to be trained.) Since I’m not quite sure what those letters entail, this would definitely be something I would need to investigate. In addition, I would need to gain more classroom teaching experience and deepen my awareness about research-based methods. It seems like a bit to accomplish, but if I put my mind into it, then there’s nothing I can’t do.

wds

Workforce Developmental Specialist (with the PA Keys Northeast Region)

This job is similar to the professional development specialist, as it focuses on “program planning and development” (Berks County Intermediate Unit, 2012). However, within this job opportunity, I would be working the the PA Keys program to develop “alternate pathways for the Career Lattice, develop and implement infant/toddler framework and credential, and Peer Mentor Certification” (Berks County Intermediate Unit, 2012). I love to research and design new curriculum methods, including those highlighting the needs for infants and toddlers. I am passionate about advocating for a more developmentally appropriate curriculum, and this job would definitely provide that opportunity. I’m excited about this job, as I currently meet all of the above skills and experiences needed. However, I should probably review and strengthen my understanding about the Keystone Stars program, including the career lattice and the infant/toddler framework.

So far, I am blown away by the amount of information I have gained just by doing research on local and state organizations. I am now even more excited to begin my career with a Master’s degree by looking at some of the job opportunities. Stay tuned, as I discover some exciting national and international opportunities in the coming weeks.

Until then, your colleague-in-crime, Erin 

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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Capstone, Local and State Levels, Week 2

 

A Wordle Welcome

Welcome to our last class before we achieve our Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education!

For those of you who may have missed my Wordle during discussion posting, here it is one more time:

Wordle_Hontz

Ok, so it is a bit confusing, but I am wildly passionate about inclusion, salaries for professionals, partnerships, advocacy, and lastly 21st century skills. The other words are terms, concepts, and ideas that represent each of the five concepts among best, for me. (Meaning, you may pick out other words for these concepts, but through my professional and personal lens, this is how I view each of these concepts.)

Here we go, friends … 8 weeks left to go! We can make it!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Capstone, Week 1