Saturday, November 28, 2015

International Contacts-Part 2

To continue the conversation in international contacts in early childhood, I'd like to introduce you to my second contact, Gennie. I met Gennie several years ago at our church. She had grown up there and now was a missionary to Swaziland.

Gennie is a house manager for an orphanage in Swaziland. Currently they have 359 children in their orphan and vulnerable care program. Children range from infants up through early 20's who are in college. 

They are required to have 1 aunty for every 6 children in their care. The Swazi government has standards for Orphan and Vulnerable Care Facilities, which is what their center falls under.

Poverty does effect their nation and area but these children are no longer affected by poverty, as their living at the center. Gennie explained "Many of our children have come from poverty, but we have seen that as they slowly come adjusted to their life here in Bulembu, they forget what it was once like to live that way. One of our focuses the past few years is to remind them where they have come from and the poverty situations that still are around them even if it no longer affects them."

I think it's really interesting that countries having standards for orphanages. I think that's a really good thing because it helps to keep them accountable to good standards while recognizing their importance in that country for childhood care. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sharing Web Resources-Part 2

I am continuing my study of NAECTE's website.

This time I stumbled upon a list of books that were written by members of NAECTE. There was a long list of books they provided, a few of them that were published this year. We've spent a lot of time in our classes discussion diversity and it's importance. In light of that, one of the books that stood out to me was:
Derman-Sparks, L, LeeKeenan, D, & Nimmo, J. (2015). Leading anti-bias early childhood programs: A guide for change. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
"It is never too early to prepare children to deal effectively with issues of race, class, gender, family, and ability and equity. This book is a tool box for building early childhood programs that foster sentiments of justice and fairness in leaders, teachers, and young children, and help them to act on these values.” —Herbert Kohl, educator and best-selling author.
I think this book could be a really good tool to have on hand to remember how to work with diversity in the classroom.
I really liked that they had a list of books published by their members. This gives any of us a great resource list to refer back to, especially if we're looking for books on early childhood, this would be a good place to start looking. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

International Contacts-Part 1

I was very fortunate enough to find 2 people willing to let me e-mail back and forth with them over the next few weeks. Today I'm going to talk about one of them, Penny.

Penny is a Montessori Directress in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has lived in South Africa all her life but as been running her school for 26 1/2 years. Her school is for children between the ages of 2 years old and 6 years old. 

I asked her about teaching ratios and standards in South Africa along with how poverty has affected her town. 

For ratios she said in her school they operate in an 8:1 child:adult ratio however the traditional schools in that area are 30:1 and the primary schools are 40:1 sometimes with a classroom assistant and unfortunately in the more disadvantaged areas the ratio is even higher.

For standards she said at the moment there are very few although Montessori society is trying to start inspections. The schools are controlled by the local health inspectors and have specific requirements regarding space per child and toilet facilities among others. 

Poverty affects the children dramatically in her area, unfortunately a lot in education. Private school can be very expensive, which makes it impossible for many of them. The education department provides facilities for children who are 5 turning 6 years old but with limited spaces. Her center sponsors 2 children, so they only pay half of the fees.

I feel like in the US we put a much higher stake on ratios and standards then in South Africa. And poverty does impact us, but not to the point where we would say early childhood is impossible for many of our children. I think poverty looks differently, because for some people who can't afford early childhood schools for their children, instead they try to work at a center to decrease that expense but still provide a good education experience for their child.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sharing Our Web Resources

As I mentioned in my previous post, for this master's class, I have to pick a website and really comb through it over the next 8 weeks (ok really 7 now). I chose NAECTE.

I started going through it this week and I'm a little disappointed in my choice. Some of the material is locked, unless you're a member of NAECTE. However I was, after a little digging, was able to find their last newsletter and find a few free articles in their Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

So far there have been 2 items that have peaked my interest:

1. They have a call of manuscripts for their Fall 2016 issue where they are soliciting educators to write on Preparing Early Childhood Teachers for Infant Care and Education. I have always enjoyed writing, and now as my writing has increased to include the realm of early childhood, this potential opportunity intrigues me. I'm unsure if I'll go for it or not, but it at least gives me something to look into more.

2. An article  on an experiential play lab in an early childhood classroom. This article just adds to the notion that I've been learning lately that play in general is good for early childhood, but facilitated play is more beneficial.

I'm hoping that these few nuggets I found will help me to continue to dive deeper into this website and find even more beneficial nuggets of information.

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Class, New Assignment

Well it's Week 1 again. This time of my 4th class, Issues and Trends in Early Childhood.
For this class each week I'll be blogging about either an early childhood website that I'm dissecting or about a conversation I'm having with two people who work with kids (ages 0-8) in another country.

For my website I'm going to look at NAECTE (National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators). The website is full of information and has a seasonal newsletter. I'm excited to learn more  about this education and to be encouraged as an early childhood professional by them. And excited to share with you what I've learned from their site.

Now the harder part was finding 2 people who work with kids overseas, so I reached out to my contacts. I posted in a mom's group on Facebook I'm a member of and am in the process of working through a few leads from some of the mom's on there. One is a missionary in Africa and the other had a few friends she had contacted while working on her own master's. But my second person is someone I actually know. A few years ago, when living in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to meet a girl who had grown up in that church but was now a missionary over in Swaziland, working with orphans and kids. I reached out to her this week and she's willing to help me out with this project. I'm excited to gain more insight into what she does for the kids in her new country, beyond the small amounts I already know.

At first I thought it was going to be really hard to find some people to converse with, but it might work out for me to find some people after all. In week 3 I have a chance to post back what I've learned up to that point. So stay tuned.

Can I just say I'm kind of amazed I'm still sticking with this master's thing?! It's been a lot harder then I expected it to be, but I've also learned way more than I expected I would. If you have a dream, something you've wanted to do for a long time, step out and do it. You can, if you want it bad enough,  you can achieve it. Go for it. It'll be hard, but the benefit will out weigh that in the end.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Tribute to Nurses

Timehop has graciously reminded me this week, of the nightmare of my life that happened only 5 years ago.  Thanks Timehop for that, but seriously it reminded me of how much things have changed since then and how thankful I am for the people who helped get us here.

5 years ago my family of 4 was in and out of the hospital, we had 3 over-night stays (2 of them lasted a week each), 1 ambulance ride that went to the ER, and 1 out patient surgery, all in the span of 5 months.

Through that time I really learned how important nurses are. It wasn't a true surprise, both my mom and sister are nurses, but it didn't really click until then. My life depended on them. My two little hearts beating on the outside depended on them.

Nurses are amazing people who must have super powers. They walk into your room and know what you're going through, they know you're in pain (inside and out) and they do everything they can to get to the source of it.

They may not always get it right, they're still human, but they try really hard. Every time they hold your hand, wipe a child's tear, reassure someone deathly afraid of needles, apply a compress, redress a bleeding wound, every time they act like you're the only one that matters. But the truth is, they've already done this, at least 10 other times, just that day.

They take you yelling at them, because they know you're in so much pain, and they still try to help you like you're their own family. They go to bat for you, even though you don't realize it. They work behind the scenes, flipping through charts, tracking down test results, grabbing doctors, they work hard for you, each and every time.

You come and go (well we hope anyway), but someone is always right behind you to fill that bed. And they still care about them, as much as they cared for you.

Thank you to all nurses, each of you, you've saved so many lives, and there are still so many more that depend on you.

Nurses are heroes, real true living in the flesh heroes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Support System

Each day my life is enriched by the supports around me. Some of those supports are real life human beings and some are just items that provide something for me. For me the biggest one is my husband Keven, next I would say my family as a whole, then I think I would have to say american comforts such as internet or my phone.

Keven is my biggest cheerleader. We've been through thick and thin together but some of that has been us taking turns being in the back seat so the other can shine. Every "big thing" I've done in my life started out as a conversation with him where he encouraged me to go for it. Without him, well I just don't really want to think about that to be honest. This past week when the gun threats entered the 45minute radius of the college we live on, I thought too much about that, and it's not a good place to go.

My family is pretty awesome, just saying. I've got 3 incredible kids, my parents are amazing, I have a sister whom I LOVE laughing with, and my in-law siblings are all some of the most caring people I've ever met. I also have some wonderful friends that are a lot like family. Most of my family is far away, across miles and state lines, but because of technology they don't seem as far as they really are. They keep me grounded and bring so many joyful memories. Without them, well I'd honestly be so lonely and not laugh nearly as much as I need to. And my memories and bucket list would be pretty pitiful.

And of course who can forget the american comforts of the first world: the good ole internet and cell phone. Tonight the internet was shut down on the campus I live on and it kind of felt like the world stopped (ok not really that was exaggerated, but seriously what did we do before the internet). And in a sheer panic of oh no my homework is due tonight how am I going to do it without the internet?!?!?! I drove to Dunkin Donuts where they give it away for free (and have really good pumpkin donuts). But seriously internet and my cell phone bring me closer to people that encourage me, slap me upside the head, and love me regardless. They also allow me to share with you, which is an incredible outlet of mine.

Without my supports I wouldn't be me. Thankfully I know that my strongest support is a God whom will never disappear, so regardless if the others do, I have Him as my foundation to help me create new ones. But I really like the ones I have already (even if I am a little addicted to the technology ones).

What does your support system look like? Could you function without them?