International. Reaching across the seas into different nations. That’s what the focus is this week: international organizations and jobs. Ok, I’ll admit, when I first read this assignment, I though to myself, Really, how many international organizations can there be? I know that we have already explored the countless organizations and communities of practice at the local, state, and national level. However, could there really be international organizations for
education early childhood education? The answer is quite simple: no. YES! I was so impressed by the amount of organizations and community of practices that I came across that are international advocates for the well-being of children, their families, and fellow educators. Although there were quite a few, I picked out a handful that appealed to my professional (and personal) interests. Keep reading on to find out more …
National Association for the Education of Young Children
What list of organizations and communities of practice would be complete without the National Association for the Education of Young Children (or better known as NAEYC)? I began to explore this organization with the mindset that it was a national organization, reaching across the United States. However, in one of the first sentences, the words “world’s largest organization” (NAEYC, n.d., emphasis added) caught my attention. Could it be that NAEYC stems across the globe, impacting other educational leaders in different countries? Once again, the answer remains YES! Turns out, NAEYC hosted a recent International Institute that brought together nine different leaders from six countries, so they can learn about the best practices within early childhood education. How cool! In addition to admiring its international efforts to train other educators about best practices, I adore the passion that NAEYC takes to ensure that the well-being of children and their families are being met, especially educationally and developmentally. I enjoy browsing through the countless statements that they uphold, especially in regards to inclusion and diversity. Their statements have impacted my professional development so much that I’ve adopted very similar beliefs that they uphold. I also really, really admire their accreditation program they offer. High quality early childhood education is so important for young ones to reach their optimal potential, and with NAEYC accreditation program, high quality becomes easier to reach and accomplish. It may not be easy, but then again, high quality takes dedication and devotion to achieve! I could continue on about NAEYC and my adoration for this organization, but I think I’ll let you read more about it yourself (National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], n.d.). Find more information here: http://www.naeyc.org.
Save the Children
Here’s another confession: I have been very focused on local, state, and national efforts in education that I am not brutally aware of the significant needs that face countless children around the world. While this is definitely an area that I need to strengthen, I gained a lot more awarenes by exploring the international organization of Save the Children. I was drawn to this community of practice because it doesn’t just focus on one group of children in a specific location, but rather it highlights numerous children in over one hundred countries around the world. I’m drawn to this organization’s passion to advocate for the health, well-being, and safety of all children, not just those in the United States or Europe (or some other country). Reading about this organization made me realize that as an early childhood educator I need to become an advocate not just for those children that I directly work with, but for the other children around the world who need a voice as well. I am inspire through Save the Children to make my efforts internationally known, so those child refugees in Syria can receive some relief (Save the Children, 2014). Read about these outstanding efforts and more at http://www.savethechildren.org.
Council for Exceptional Children
I’m sure by now many of you are aware of my passion for inclusion and children with varying abilities. So, really, it shouldn’t be a shock that the Council for Children was included in this group. Like NAEYC, I actually thought that this was nationally based just within the United States, but once again the words “international community” (Council for Exceptional Children, 2014, emphasis added) caught my attention. The Council for Exceptional Children is an
national international organization that strives to increase the quality of life and educational opportunities for individuals with varying abilities. I am drawn specifically to this international community of practice because it is a body of individuals who are dedicated to improving the well-being of children (and others) who have disabilities. So often these children remain voiceless and fall between the cracks. Having an organization that advocates and believes in children with disabilities leaves me with hope that inclusion, equality, and diversity will hopefully become well-known topics in the future. I also enjoy that this organization offers countless resources, like publications, public policy, and advocacy opportunities. The Council for Exceptional Children inspires me to join the many voices across the world to advocate for the wonderful children with varying disabilities abilities (Council for Exceptional Children, 2014)! Find out more information at http://www.cec.sped.org.
Division for Early Childhood
Sometimes you just have to save the best for last. The Division for Early Childhood is actually affiliated with the Council for the Exceptional Children, however it does have its differences. The Division for Early Childhood is specifically for individuals who are working with children with special needs (up to age eight) and their families. So, honestly, this international organization is straight up my alley in regards to my passion! One of my favorite things about this organization is that it teamed up with NAEYC to create a joint position statement on inclusion. Until this statement was released, there was no general definition of inclusion, which lead to a lot of misunderstandings. However, once this joint positional statement was released, inclusion became a lot clearer, especially for the realm of early childhood. Another thing that draws me to this nonprofit organization is that it is geared towards early childhood and special education. Both of these are two of my biggest professional passions, so I get very excited when I start exploring the different positional statement, professional resources, and proposals this organization offers (Division for Early Childhood, n.d.). Go to http://www.dec-sped.org to discover more exciting information!
An International … Job?
I, for one, am not looking to extend my employment opportunities past the boundaries of the United States. Sure, I may spread my wings and fly to another state, but to another country? That is far less likely. However, just because I prefer to stay stateside does not mean that I can not partner with an international organization to impact the lives of children around the world. Exploring the above international organizations and communities of practice lead to the discover of a few exciting job opportunities for my possible professional future. (Whether or not I am currently qualified is another story … read on.)
Associate Director, Policy & Advocacy, Early Childhood Development
Well, right off the bat, I found a job that can impact many children’s lives within the United States, and even around the world. Save the Children has a position currently open for an associate director in policy and advocacy directly related to early childhood development. I figured I will be getting my Master’s degree in that field, so perhaps I would be a bit more qualified that I expect. But, I expected wrong. This job includes the responsibility of creating and engaging in lobbying strategies to help increase investments in the early childhood field at the local, state, and national levels. Specifically, this individual is to develop and promote educational and advocacy opportunities that reaches the executive and legislative branches at the national level. (Ok, so I may be getting my Master’s in early childhood, but I’m still a small town girl, remember?) I certainly will meet the requirement of the Master’s degree (well, that’s one good step), but I definitely do not have anywhere near five to seven years of professional experience in Congressional and administrative outreach. I also do not have any established contacts “within senior Washington governmental and nongovernmental policy circles” (Save the Children, 2013). While I certainly do not qualify for this position now, I have an idea of how I can become qualified, and I think a community of practice will be able to help me take a few steps closer towards applying for this job (just … many years down the road) (Save the Children, 2013).
Executive Director for the Division for Early Childhood
Since the Division for Early Childhood is an international organization that resonates closely to my personal and professional passion, why not shoot for the stars and become their executive director? Ok, so maybe I have several more years before this becomes a reality, but it is nice to start envisioning how I can prepare myself now to be an ideal candidate should this position open up again. Basically, the executive director position is pretty much as it sounds: making sure the organization is operating in a manner that achieves its projected outcomes. What does this entail: organizational leadership, administrative leadership, financial management (and planning), ongoing communication with board members, promoting professional development, and recruiting (as well as maintaining) members. Phew, that’s a lot to swallow! I guess I need to start now if I desire to become an executive director in ten years! I do have extensive experience in early childhood special education and early intervention, so that’s a step in the right direction. However, I need to increase (or maybe start is a better word) my skills and knowledge on running a nonprofit business, as well as better financial management skills. In addition, I need to be able to show that I have a successful track record of “marketing, public relations, and communication strategies” (Division for Early Childhood, 2013). While I still have a lot to achieve for this goal, it seems like a great job that would stir my passion, making me a more effective leader.
Senior Meeting Planner
Let’s tone it down a bit and try to shoot for a job that is more in line with my current qualifications. Being the senior meeting planner for NAEYC involves managing and coordinating the many details for the annual professional development institute, as well as assisting with the annual national city-wide conference. Being that I love to organize lots of details, this job is starting to show promise! The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree (check mark!), but I would need at least five to seven years in logistics coordination for associations and multi-site meetings (I have none). So, I may not be an exact match right now, but at least I know which direction to head in! In addition, I can further fine tune my interpersonal and organizational skills, as well as my team working abilities. As I work on all of these areas, hopefully I will be qualified to fill this position one day in the future (NAEYC, n.d.)
So, there you have it! Local, state, national, and international organizations, communities of practice, and job opportunities! I have enjoy these past few weeks of exploring and discovering, as well as reading what you all have found on your journeys. As we wrap up not only this course, but this program, I can hold my head up high, knowing that I have a wealth of information tucked neatly away to help me become an outstanding educator and a dynamite advocate for social change.
Until we meet again for one last time, your colleague-in-crime, Erin