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Category Archives: International

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

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 …

NAEYC

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.

STC

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.

CEC

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.

DEC

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

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

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

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

wk6references

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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in International, Week 6

 

Research Around the World

As we continue our journey towards becoming critical consumers of research, we have begun the process of research simulation. I am learning by leaps and bounds about the process of research and how it relates to both my personal and professional life. I have even surprised myself by bringing in specific terminology to conversations with others. For example,

This week at work, we were discussing how certain things in life were more subjective, rather than objective. I was able to offer my opinions and insights based on learning the background meanings of the words subjectivity and objectivity. Towards the end of the conversation, an individual piped up and commented on how I was introducing “big” words into the topic at hand. I beamed proudly, stating that I had learned it in grad school.

Getting back on track now … as I have begun to undertake this research simulation and started the design process, it is important to not get too narrowly focused that I miss other research happenings around me. In light of our blog assignment this week, I took a few moments (ok, perhaps a few hours) to explore the international research efforts of early childhood education. While each website was phenomenal, I opted to dive into the Sub-Saharan African portal of the Early Childhood Development Virtual University. I was fascinated by the amount of information presented and the wealth of research efforts that were occurring on this continent.

currentresearchWhile there were about 25 different reports about the research efforts occurring within the Sub-Saharan area, there were three particular research endeavors that captured my attention and taught me more about the intricate process of research.

  • Improvement to Quality of Childcare through Enriching Parents and Professionals
        * Habtom, A. (2004) *See references for proper APA citation*eritrea
    This research effort intended to improve the quality of development and learning for children in the country of Eritrea through increasing parent enrichment and properly training the professionals. When the parents are placed at the forefront of education, it runs smoothly and effectively. Without this support from the parents (and the surrounding community), any early childhood education interventions will be unsuccessful. Therefore, this study worked to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and abilities of parents of young children to increase quality in childcare. Furthermore, it also desired to properly train professionals to work with parents and empower them with these necessary skills. With these two components working simultaneously, the impact and quality of the development and learning of children should improve.  The results from the project found that parent enrichment needs to be paired with other programs and support systems to reach optimal performance. In addition, when the professionals are properly trained, it will become cost efficient (Habtom, 2004). To read more about this exciting research study, click here for the full article.
  • Implementing a Curriculum for Teacher Education at a Higher Educational Level
         * Sebatane, E (2003)  *See references for proper APA citation*
    lesotho_maseruThe researcher of this study advocated that the country of Lesotho needed to implement a curriculum that properly trained pre-service teachers and equipped them with a certification upon the completion of the program. The country of Lesotho currently does not uphold a standardized training program for teachers-in-training, which leaves gaps and creates questions in regards to the level of quality in education. This project combined surveys, interviews, and discussions of a small group of professionals to determine their level of knowledge and education. The results founded that there was a lack of knowledge and skills among these teachers, especially in regards to the specific knowledge of child development. Therefore, the discussions and conclusion urged for a standardized curriculum for pre-service teachers that emphasizes child development and learning, which will prepare these professionals with the appropriate levels of knowledge and skills to provide high quality education and care (Sebatane, 2003). To read the full article of this research effort, please click here.
  • Assessing the Interaction and Stimulation between Single Mothers and Their Children in Low-Income Families
        Matola, C.E. (2004)  *See references for proper APA citation*
    Malawi-Afrika_map_jpgThis research project examined the correlation between single mothers from low-income families and the interaction with their children in the country of Malawi. The literature review in the beginning emphasized the importance of positive simulation and interaction between parents and their children. If this is missing, the development of the brain and learning could be impaired. Through a combination of interviews and observations, the researcher discovered that the childcare among this group of children was significantly poor due to multiple factors, like economic hardships, lack of a fatherly role and his support, insufficient knowledge about child development, and long working hours. As a result, the children are at a heightened risk for malnutrition, poor development, and impaired learning. Based upon these findings, the research project suggested several recommendations to increase the holistic development of children, which included providing financial assistance, educating mothers about the importance of interaction and child development, and implementing policies that will ensure good childhood health and well-being for this targeted population (Matola, 2004). If you desire to read more about this research study, please click here.

newideasAfter reading about these specific research efforts that are occurring internationally, I gained several new insights, pieces of information, and facts about early childhood. In no particular order, they are as follows:

  • Research studies should be culturally sensitive and considerate of the community surroundings.
    Reading through the first research article, I was astounded to discover how much of a role the community actually has. In addition, the research process should be respectful and considerate of the surrounding culturally influences. This new piece of information in regards to research enlightened me and challenged me to go back through my research simulation, incorporating cultural and community considerations.
  • The holistic development of children is a desire and ambition of early childhood professionals and researchers worldwide.
    In every research article I read, these exact words were written somewhere within the body: “holistic development.” While a research project may specifically focus on an aspect or topic in early childhood education, the underlying aim is to improve the holistic development of children. This intention is not just evident in the United States or another country, but rather can be found interlaced throughout research and programs worldwide. This new insight kindled my passion, as I was able to see that fellow professionals and researchers seem to have the same deep desire as I do, which is to address the holistic development of children.
  • Research studies have limitations.
    While this may not be a new fact in and of itself, I was able to identify clearly how a research study has limitations. For example, at least two of the three articles described above had a limited sample population under thirty. From our main text book, I recall that to get reliable, statistic results, the sampling population should be at least 30 (Siraj-Blatchford, 2010, p. 230). Since there was such a low sampling population, I could see how the results would probably not be able to be generalized to a larger area or the whole early childhood population. The limitations were also noted near the end of the article, which reinforced my initial wonderings as I read through the sampling methods. This new fact helped me to be more aware that my research simulation will have limitations, however it will still lead to new discoveries and findings.
  • Interviews and observations were frequently used.
    As I read through the data collection methods of the above articles, I took careful note to see which ones were chosen. Much to my surprise, I discovered that interviews and observations were frequently used. This lead me to the new insight that perhaps these two methods are most appropriate for early childhood educational research. My pondering will continue, as I learn more about research in this field and the preferred data method collections.

noteworthyAlright, you’ve made it this far. Rather than droning on for another page about the fascinating discoveries of the Sub-Saharan portal on the Early Childhood Development Virtual University, I will bullet point some of the noteworthy information I found:

  • Different approaches to the curriculum are described, which include an ecological approach, a multicultural approach, and a cohort driven approach
  • The description and impact of the University is listed in a PDF form. This is a fabulous document that outlines an overview of the university, as well as the internal and external impacts it has.
  • Country reports for 10 countries within the Sub-Saharan region are listed, outlining in-depth details and statistics about the data of children, women, and families in that specific country.
  • All of the participants in the program are listed with a short biography. Those included are the students, faculty, staff, advisers, and funders.
  • External links are provided to access the overarching Early Childhood Development University, which is based out of the University of Victoria in Canada.

To access this website and to learn more about the above information, please click here.

referencesEarly Childhood Development Virtual University (ECDVU). (2005). ECDVU Sub-Saharan Africa: Mission statement. Retrieved from http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/

Habtom, A. (2004). Improving the quality of childcare through parenting enrichment and training of Trainers: The Eritrean model. University of Maryland, Maryland. Retrieved from http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/documents/major_projects/Habtom%20-%20MP%20Final%20-%20UVic%20LP.pd    f

Matola, C.E. (2004). Assessment of interaction and stimulation in single-mother low-income familes. University of Victoria, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/documents/major_projects/Matola%20BA%20MP%20Final%20-%20UVic%20LP.pdf

Sebatane, E. (2003). Developong an ECCD teacher training curriculum in Lesotho as part of a college education program. University of Victoria, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ecdvu.org/ssa/documents/major_projects/Sebatane%20MP%20Final%20-%20UVic%20LP.pdf

Siraj-Blatchford, J. (2010). Surveys and questionnaires: An evaluative case study. In G. Naughton, S. Rolfe, & I. Siraj-Blatchford (Eds.). Doing early childhood research: International perspectives on theory and practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 223-238). New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill.