Monday, February 27, 2017

And That's a Wrap

It's really hard to believe that after almost 2 years, I am in my last week of my graduate work. I am going to have a Master's Degree!!! This has been a life long goal of mine, and it's so amazing to see it come to fruition.

At the conclusion of this program I have learned a lot. I've honestly probably learned as much about myself as I have learned about Early Childhood Education. I've learned that I truly can do anything I put my mind to, I really can sacrifice sleep for a goal if I need to, I actually am more interested in the education field then I first thought, and there truly is a need for more attention to spiritual disciplines for children (especially infant-8 years old).

In the Early Childhood field I've learned:
-how to write a grant proposal and where to look for grants for early childhood centers
-so much more of the inner workings of child development as well as the inner workings of the early childhood field in general
-how to write scholarly articles and papers on early childhood, and who knows maybe it will give me the push to submit something in the future

Thank you Walden University for teaching me more than I could have imagined, about myself and about education. Thank you to all of my professors for encouraging and pushing me to continue to learn more. Thank you to all of my co-students, I learned just as much from each of you, especially through your questions and discussions, continue to do amazing things! Thank you to all of my family, friends, and co-workers that put up with my slightly crazy complaints, questions, or random ah-ha moments :)

And a huge thank you to my husband Keven, who never let me give up, who encouraged me each time I needed it the most, and who thought it would be a great idea for us to both be full time students at the same time. We're almost done and I can't wait to see what doors it opens for us in the future! Thank you for believing in me.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

This week we are focusing on organizations that are international.  

UNICEF believes that quality education is a right for all children, whether in the developing world or amidst conflict and crisis.

I chose UNICEF, because I remember being a child and going trick or treating, while carrying the small little box, asking for quarters for UNICEF. I didn't understand fully what they did, but as a child, I knew it was important to do something to help other children. Currently, I work at a center, that has received financial grants from UNICEF. 

They had several job openings posted for positions all over the world. These positions varied from direct relief work with children to video production for promotion. Locations of the positions varied from their headquarters in New York to Brazil, Mali, Jerusalem, and anywhere in between.

2. Compassion International. In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.

I chose Compassion International because they have helped so many orphans across the world receive financial support to be able to be provided for. 

They had several job openings posted. Most of these positions were located at their headquarters in Colorado, but there were several in international as well. These positions also varied from direct interaction with kids or sponsors, to the marketing and administrative aspects of making the organization run for the benefit of the children it supports.

3. More than Me  More than Me  uses education as a catalyst for transformative social change for every girl in Liberia. 

I chose More than Me, because they have been a huge catalyst for educational change for girls in Liberia, and they were also a contributing factor in fighting the Ebola crisis that hit Liberia in 2014.

They currently have no job openings available, but do have fundraising opportunities.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

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

This week we're exploring communities of practice on the national level.

1. ACSI -Association of Christian Schools International. Their mission: ACSI has advanced excellence in Christian schools by enhancing the professional and personal development of Christian educators and providing support functions for Christian schools.

I chose ACSI because of my interest in Christian education. Before this class I thought ACSI was for K-12 schools only, but now discovered that they have an early childhood arm to ACSI also.

They had only 2 job openings  posted. One was full time for a marketing and sales assistant, and the other was for a part time administrative assistant. Both were located in different locations in the US. Neither job really spoke to me as something I would be interested in, although I would have been qualified for the admin assistant position.

2. NAEYC-National Association for Education of Young Children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

I chose NAEYC because they are the gold standard when it comes to early childhood education. 

For Job openings  they had posted different ways to get involved. One of the ways was to be a consulting editor for their publications and books. I think that would be an interesting opportunity and a great way to be a voice on the national stage through early childhood. To apply, you have to be a member of NAEYC first.

3. Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood. Their mission: At Teaching Strategies we are dedicated to providing the most effective early education resources. Why? Because a child’s first 8 years form a critical foundation for her future successes. And we believe that early childhood educators play an important role as children’s door openers—in school and in life.

I chose Teaching Strategies because their assessments and curriculum have been a proven and strong resource in early childhood education.

For job openings they had 13 different ones listed. I was surprised that most of their job openings had nothing to do with early childhood or education, but more on the tech, sales, and marketing side. The one position I was most interested in their Content Development Associate position. This position would help to create content for their curriculum and reviews Teaching Strategies material. The position is located in Maryland.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State

Well that was a long break from my blog, sorry about that. Here I am with my last master's class and I get to write in my blog for the next 7 weeks as a part of that! 

This week we're learning about Communities of Practice, so for the blog this week we have to find 3 local or state agencies that I could partner with.

1. Southeast Regional Key (Pennsylvania): Their mission statement: "The Southeast Regional Key cultivates a community of early learning and school age programs to provide high quality, nurturing educational environments so that ALL children enter school ready to learn and succeed. It fulfills its mission by managing Pennsylvania’s quality rating and improvement system in the region through case management, professional development, technical assistance, financial awards, and community engagement."

I chose the Southeast Regional Key of Pennsylvania because this is the part of STARS, that the center I work at belongs to. As an organization they have provided important and useful professional development opportunities for our teachers and our center as a whole, as well as diagnostic help with navigating changes to the PA Key, Stars, ECERS, and ITERS that apply to our center specifically. 
They had no job openings posted, but did have their staff directory listed along with contact information for each one.

2. Chester County Intermediate Unit (Pennsylvania):  Their mission statement: "The Chester County Intermediate Unit is a dynamic educational service agency providing quality, innovative and cost-effective programs to enhance the lives of students and members of our communities. In support of the mission, the Intermediate Unit holds the following beliefsCustomer Service, Partnership, Leadership, Innovation, Advocacy, Professional Commitment, and Organizational Culture."

I chose CCIU because they have been a valuable resource for our center in providing therapists for some of our students who have needed it, as well as been a resource for fielding questions that teachers have had regarding certain situations with speech, diagnosis, specified testing, etc. They have also been a great word of mouth advertising unit for our center and have recommended us to other parents they service who they know live in our area and are looking for a center. 

The CCIU had several jobs posted, about 2 pages worth. Most of the jobs required driving to different towns or other certifications I don't have. One job I was not qualified for but was interested in was the Director of Pupil services but it required a PA Administrative certification and a special education certification as well as experience for 6 years being a principal, experience in elementary and secondary education, and at least 2 years experience already being a director of pupil services somewhere else. However one job did stand out to me, as one that I was qualified for: a Preschool Special Education Instructional Assistant. 

3. Penn Del District (Pennsylvania): Their purpose: A ministry network comprised of Assemblies of God churches within Pennsylvania and Delaware.

I chose them because the center I currently work at is a Christian Center. One of the aspects of our curriculum is to have a weekly chapel service for the entire center (Young Toddlers through Kindergarten) to be a part of. From the Penn Del District I have been able to gain ideas on aspects of the chapel service, chapel speakers, as well as themes for our services.

They do not have job openings posted on their website, but they do have a staff directory listed which includes both district staff as well as sectional leaders, so their is a contact point for each area of Pennsylvania or Delaware. 

I had a hard time finding an online presence for any local organizations supporting early childhood within Spring City, PA. However, I am aware of a directors group that gets together once a month to meet and discuss issues that relate to their particular centers as well as early childhood within our geographical region as a whole, but I don't believe they have an online association. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Adjourning in Teamwork

We've been learning this week that there are five stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. We were asked to think through the adjourning process of team work.

When I think through the groups that I've been a part of, I think the toughest ones to leave are the ones where I have grown more as a person or have made some of my favorite memories because of them. The easiest ones to leave have been more on the academic side, like group projects or even when I've graduated (in the general sense-both times I had friends that were really hard to leave).

In highschool I was a part of several clubs and activities-my goal was to have more activities next to my name in my yearbook then one of my uncle's had next to theirs (I think I won). In that list of ridiculousness, was drama. I had the privilege of being a part of set design for two of our school's productions-at the end of each production there were several rituals we followed-making Congo lines to some great music and parading around the school hallway was one of my favorites. Honestly some of those traditions became something that we looked forward to just as much as the actual production, even though it meant that all of our handwork was coming to an end. But the traditions of the ending, made the closure or adjourning parts just as famous as the rest of the project.

Each missions trip I've gone on has been hard to leave. They were hard because I discovered more of myself and on each trip I grew more spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. Each trip I poured a piece of myself out in blood, sweat, and tears and left that piece behind in a different town/state/country and I shared those memories with people that at the beginning of the week I hardly knew, but by the end of the week I would lay my life down for.

I'm a little over half way done with my master's program. The interesting part about doing this program online is I'm not interacting with my peers the same way I did in college, when I could see them face to face and hang out with them after class. There are a few that I've had multiple classes with, some I've only had 1 class with at a time. I don't know any of them well enough to miss them personally, but I will miss being challenged to grow more in my understanding of early childhood, but I'm also looking forward to running into them or their name in the future, stumbling upon a journal article or an idea that's been published on early childhood, and recognizing their name or blog.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Communication in Conflict

Communication in conflict is probably one of the most important times for communication, it can either escelate the argument or diffuse it. 

This week we've been studying different techniques for communication in times of conflict, especially with families at our center or with co-workers. Reflecting back on some of those moments that have occurred, I think I would now do things a little differently.

The most common disagreement with co-workers has to do with scheduling, as I'm the one who makes the schedule. Either I've missed something they've requested or they're not happy with what we have them scheduled for. In the past, more often then not, in those moments I would start formulating my response before they've even finished talking. This past week I tried really hard to engage and listen to someone's complaint, but honestly when they were done talking I had nothing to respond back with. We've been studying the 3 R's: respectful, reciprocal, and responsive. I was trying so hard to be respectful and listen intently that I really lost the ideas of being reciprocal and responsive in return, I had no idea where to go with the conversation or conflict. Looking forward those are two areas that I need to really work on when it comes to conflicts in scheduling.

When I think through some of the parent conflicts that we've had, some of them have been minor, and some have been really major. The Nonviolent Communication Method may have been helpful for some of the more minor parent conflicts. NVC is NOT about getting people to do what we want. It is about creating a quality of connection that gets everyone’s needs met through compassionate giving. I think if on our end as a school, if we can continue to try to be compassionate and understanding through any conflict, it may help to come to a more positive solution.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Personal Communication

This week for our class, we had to take some personal assessments for our communication in three different categories and then have other people complete the same assessment about us too.

When looking at communication anxiety, my husband and I both scored myself differently. I scored myself at 44 in the mild category while he scored me at 59 in the moderate category. He said it was hard for him to really evaluate me, even though he's seen and heard me speak lots of times, he had a hard time knowing how if I personally felt anxiety or not. I would say that realistically I have low anxiety speaking, except right before I actually speak, and then it spikes extremely high!

For the listening one my husband and I both rated me in the category of being a people-oriented listener who listens with relationships in mind. I would say that is a good assessment of how I value listening as a part of communication.

It's interesting how sometimes people can see you the same way you see yourself, and sometimes they can see you in a completely different light.