Saturday, August 18, 2012


I have enjoyed working with each of you over these past weeks.  While things did not always go as we had hoped in regards to the connections we were able to make internationally, we have been able to connect and support each other through our blogs and discussions.  I am taking a break this fall from classes, but will still check in on you all once in a while.  I will also continue to post to my blog (although, maybe not weekly!)

So what have I learned these past weeks in regards to the international early childhood field? 
·         Things do not always go as planned.
·         Everyone’s time schedules for responses are different. 
·         Many of the issues we face in the US are also global issues with different cultures and contexts (poverty, diversity, etc). 
·         There is a common understanding of the importance of early childhood education and care.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
One of their focuses is Education with a sub-theme interest in strengthening early childhood systems.

This week I spent some time exploring this portion of UNESCO's work.  There are links for their mission, strategies for achieving their mission, the history, policy briefs, country profiles, and more.  There are four areas that UNESCO has placed their focus in working in Early Childhood.  They are: Access & Equity, Quality, Investment & Financing, and Coordination & Integration.

Assessiblity to quality early childhood care and education is greatly important to me.  But this access in my opinion needs to be for all and not just the poor or not just the advantaged.  Because of this, I looked into this area with some depth.  There is an article on Vietnam's early childhood policy from 2005.  While the report is dated, it did provide some interesting information.

Vietnam has a pro-poor policy for early childhood.  Their early childhood programs (for children birth through 5 years old) are available for children of all economic statuses yet 42% are "state" meaning there is no fee to attend, these are for the "poorest" children.  Then there are semi-state schools (48%) where families must pay a fee, which covers the teacher's salary and the balance is covered by the state.  The remaining schools are "people-founded" or "private" and although they receive no financial support from the state, the state sets standards, monitors & evaluates the programs.  Sounds a bit like the U.S.  BUT ....  the final question posed and answer must be shared:

Choi: Finally, although many challenges remain, Vietnam seems to have been successful in developing and implementing concrete pro-poor early childhood policy measures. What would you single out as the success factors?
Tuyet: In Vietnam, the Ministry of Education and Training is responsible for the entire early childhood age group, and is the lead sector for early childhood. This makes it easier to develop and implement policies and monitor progress. We do not have to waste effort on coordinating different initiatives by different sectors. More important, the state has always been committed to investing in early childhood. This has made it possible to cater for the early childhood needs of the poorest. Without state investment, the equity issue cannot be tackled efficiently.
This is where the U.S. differs.  We have not be able to develop one unifying governmental leader and there isn't a strong commitment on the government's part for investing in early childhood.  We do have funds and some leadership, but it isn't enough.

While I am passionate about this issue.  I am not sure what kind of a voice I have in making a difference.  My primary goal in early childhood is to see that all children have the ability and opportunity to participate in quality early childhood care and education from birth through Kindergarten.  I thought my means to see this happen was through the road of preschool director.  Now I don't know.  I wish I did, but I don't.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The NAECTE ... part 3

One last section of the NAECTE website to explore with all of you is their links to related organizations.  Most of the links are to varying organizations related to teacher education, but the first that caught my eye was one titled “Certification Map.”  It took me here

“Certification Map is a simple guide to receiving teacher certification and clarifies the steps needed to become a teacher in your state.”  Since I seem to battling this issue right now and trying to find clear information regarding North Carolina, this seems to be the answer!  So North Carolina … But … all the information is for elementary or secondary certification.  Which isn’t any help for me figuring out North Carolina’s new Birth to Kindergarten license.  I strike out again.

The NAECTE also provides links to a few organizations from other areas of the world including Australia, Canada, and Europe.  The organization in Europe is based out of the University of Sweden with the objective “to establish a flexible multilingual transnational forum for the development of teacher education in Europe linking together as many universities and other institutions as possible.”  Not only have the connected a great area of Europe they have members in Canada, China, Israel, Cyprus, Hong Kong, and the US.  But another strike out, the links to the members do not work.

But then … I think I have found the jackpot in the Early Childhood Australia.  Right on their home page “ECA will advocate to ensure quality, social justice, and equity in all issues relating to the education and care of children from birth to eight years.”  This is exactly what we are talking about in my current class!  I found a media release from June 2012 stating “Any changes to the funding of childcare should focus on benefiting low and middle income families and on improving the wages and conditions of the people who work in these services.” 

Hmmm sounds like what I have been reading these past few weeks about the U.S.  I guess in some ways it is nice to hear that all countries are dealing with the same things, but overall it would be wonderful to know there is a place in this world that has it figured out.  That there is a country that supports children, values them, and desires the best for them.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ECCE Internationally

So I was really excited that I would be communicating with a professional in England, but that has not come through.  Although, watching the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in London last night I was thrilled to see all the children that were incorporated into the event.  Children truly are viewed as the future of the country and it is clear that they are valued.  

Fireworks are set off around the Olympic Stadium
What an amazing image to help us all remember that around the world, we are a group of people.  No matter how different we may be, we are all human and all have the same needs.  And we can come together an unite around one central purpose ... whether it be the Olympic Games or early childhood care and education

Ok ... enough about the Olympics ... Since I have not heard back from my contact, I started this post out by reading Volume 11 of the online journal Current Issues in Comparative Education.    The focus on this volume is the worldwide challenges and accomplishments in the field of early childhood care and education.  Two articles focus on countries in Africa and two focus on Brazil.  The second resource that I looked at was the Center on the Developing Child's Global Children's Initiative.  

What I have come away with from these readings:
  • While ECCE is a global need, the implications on different neighborhoods varies greatly!  There is a common understanding that quality ECCE is the foundation for an individual's future life expectations, successes, and path in life.  How this knowledge is used varies depending on where you live.
  • In Zambia, there is an understanding of the need of ECCE and Primary education, but the government has not been able to provide quality or effective care in this poor nation.  The author of this article recommends that the country not pursue ECCE until the nation develops a better system of education for children of basic and primary ages.  (published 2009)
  • In Brazil, their ECCE program seem to be doing well and reaching families and children because there is a partnership between family, community and coordinated efforts.  There is a focus on reaching children where they are in their current context.  While the information about ECCE is generated in other countries, they are taking the information and applying it to their culture and situation.
  • How exciting to read that the Center on the Developing Child hosted a leadership training on early childhood development for 50 Brazilian politicians, policymakers, public managers, and civil-society leaders so that they can develop programs and initiatives to positively impact the children in their county!  They are bridging the gap between what we know and what we do!
  • This is all information that we need to take to heart in the US as ECCE is being held in front of our policy makers and is being put to the test in regards to funding.  While defense may be able to keep their funds, the rest of the education and domestic program may loose their government funding because we do not have the voice in Congress that Brazil has in their  government.  Check out this great blog!
I could continue, but you have to stop somewhere.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This idea of doublethink is a great easy to describe so many different facets of early childhood and education right now. Even play is being taken from children in a means of improving test scores....but what will be the long term consequences?

Education Week: Doublethink: The Creativity-Testing Conflict

Friday, July 20, 2012

The NAECTE … part 2

The National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) is found at  This is my second week discussing this organization and their website.  Check out the first week here

I was a bit disappointed on my further inspection of the organization because in order to get my hands on most things of interest, I need to be a member.  At this point, I am not able to afford the membership, so I am left not being able to see most of their resources for teacher educators.

The organization does offer something called ResearchNets to “facilitate scholarly pursuits on collaborative research projects.”  This is a community network to allow access to other’s research while you are working on your own, allowing for collaboration and conversation on the topics.  The two active ResearchNets are “Teacher Research” and “Technology in Early Childhood Education.” 

Other areas of the site that I can access are

  • The NAECTE Foundation
  • which raises funds to advocate, support research projects, and offer scholarships,
  •  Job Announcements (Which they currently have a great opportunity in Baltimore Maryland…), and

There is a page containing five documents, which are their position statements, by-laws, and policies.  Happily, the Position Statement reiterates everything that I have learned about early childhood appropriate practice and the importance of certification of our early childhood teachers. 

What I found interesting was their second document: The Early Childhood Teacher Certification Toolkit.  This toolkit is put together to help individuals or groups battle the powers that be in seeing appropriate laws and requirements be put in place to support the position statement.  While we all may not be fighting this particular battle, it is a great resource to read through (or skim), because it provides support and encouragement to persist and know that change happens, even if it seems like a grueling long process…. Something that I need to remember in my current state of unsurity of my future in early childhood.  Now I am going to get back to re-reading that first letter of the toolkit!