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!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

International Contacts and Poverty

I have a big bummer to share with you all.  I haven’t heard back from my contact.  L  I’m hoping in 2 weeks time I will hear from my contact from England and another from Costa Rica.

Since I haven’t heard back from my England contact … which I suspect will happen tomorrow!  J … I decided to look up some information about England and poverty and how does it compare to where I live in the U.S.?  I came across the site Child Poverty Action Group.  They state that 27% of children in England (in 2010/11) live in poverty with higher concentrations in different areas of the country.  Which is similar to U.S. statistics of 21.6% in 2010

In the U.S. the poverty level is a national level of income based on the size of the family and the ages of the members and was originally developed in 1963 based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s designated food budgets and what portion of their income was spent on food.  In 2011 that financial number was determined to be $23,018 for a family of four.  Which is currently equal to £14787.36. 

So how is poverty defined in England?  Where do they get their number?  The Poverty Site reports the poverty level to be determined to be “60% or less of the average household income in that year.” In 2008 that equaled £288 a week or £14976 a year for a family of four.  

While the years are off by 3 and the means of determining our poverty thresholds are different, they numbers come out fairly similarly.  England reports having more children living in poverty in the U.S. and through doing a simple search I found numerous resources on how both countries are combatting poverty similarly and the effects of a child growing up in poverty are the same. 

My prayer is that one day our upper-class citizens will find a way to live a simpler life and help out those who are suffering so deeply.  Just yesterday I was reading with my daughter the passage in the Bible about giving to the least of them was giving to Jesus found in Matthew 25:35-41.  There really is no excuse for the wealthiest countries to have this concern.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Taking a look at NAECTE … part 1

This is my first week sharing information with you about my selected organization.  The National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) is found at  NAECTE was created and is sustained by members with a common interest in teacher education.  Their purpose is to promote professionalism, professional growth, advocate, discuss issues, share information, and provide a Journal and Conferences to support  growth and learning in the field. 

I first looked for a newsletter that I could subscribe to and found that they produce a newsletter quarterly.  I was disappointed because I wouldn’t be receiving weekly updates from the organization.  The most recent newsletter is dated Summer 2012 and its main focus is on preparation for the Professional Development Institute from the beginning of June.  The NAECTE meets during the NAEYC’s Professional Development Institute and the NAEYC’s fall conference. The newsletter also included highlights from 3 regional reports.  The highlight for me was the focus on Growing up WILD: Exploring nature with young children.  I had heard about this resource, but their information clarified the purpose of the resource in helping educators bring kids into nature and feel confident in the process. 

My next exploration into this site was their Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.  Through my studies already, I have used this journal in locating additional information.  The purpose of the Journal is to “provide a forum for consideration of issues and for exchange of information and ideas about research and practice in early childhood teacher education.”  Currently there is a call for papers for a special edition titled “Early Childhood Teacher Education: Why does it matter?  How does it matter?”  This may be one that I need to get my hands on when it comes out!

The primary issue or trend that this organization is focused on is the development of quality teacher education programs.  There are three policies that they state should be included in every certification agency and school district. 
1.      Require an early childhood certificate and/or endorsement for those teaching in classrooms for children five years old and younger in state funded pre-kindergarten and in kindergarten programs.
2.      Give priority in hiring and placement to teachers with an early childhood certificate and/or endorsement for public school classrooms for six, seven, and eight-year-olds (1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades).
3.      Require that early childhood certification and/or endorsement be based on completion of teacher preparation programs that meet professional preparation standards consistent with those established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Stay tuned for more information about this organization in future blog posts!  AND – I did find a professional contact!  Next week I hope to share some information with you from a home-child-care provider in England.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Professional Contacts & Exploring Websites

So this week’s assignment for my new class “Issues and Trends in Early Childhood” has not gone as expected.  We were assigned the job of locating two professional contacts outside the United States to be in conversations about issues and trends they see in the field of early childhood.  While I was hesitant at first, I tried with all my might to find someone to dialog with.  I contacted three prospects and haven’t heard back from any of them.

I tried for England, Madagascar (because of the relationship with friends working there with the Lutheran church), and Australia.  The England contact is an ECE worker who I love reading her blog.  Madagascar contact was through UNICEF.  And the Australia contact was through the University of South Australia.  I was shooting for being well rounded …. Hmmm … didn’t pan out the way I had hoped.  I am going to try a few other possibilities and see what turns up. 

At the same time I will also start pursuing the alternative option and get hooked up with the World Forum.  Let’s see in two weeks what can happen.

The second part of my blogging assignment is to choose an early childhood website to explore and learn.  I have chosen to explore the National Association of Early ChildhoodTeacher Educators’ website.  What was the deciding factor is when I looked at their purpose statement it spoke volumes to me right away.  The two directions I think my journey is taking me is 1st to teach new teachers; help them learn appropriate practices for the classroom, and/or work to make it more affordable for teachers to gain the needed skills.  2nd is to own my own childcare center that is faith based yet runs full day and is available for those who aren’t ‘poor’ but need to work full time to make it in our changing economy.  NAECTE seemed to fall right into place with both of those possible paths.  Then again, God still may have something different in store for me….

I can’t wait to hear how my classmates did on finding some professional contacts and which websites they chose!  Here’s to a new journey for the next 8 weeks!  (Sometimes it feels like my life lately is based on 8 week intervals….but it’s all going to be worth it!)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Supports

Who supports me?
First I need to look at what support means … dictionary .com defines support:
  • To bear or hold up; serve as a foundation for.
  • To sustain or withstand without giving way; serve as a prop for.
  • To undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.
  • To sustain under trial or affliction.
  • To maintain by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for.

Supports are those people and things who are there with me holding hands with me.
First, my faith supports me.  God is my sustainer and provider. 
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.  Psalm 54:4
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  Hebrews 1:3
Second, my husband is always there for me, for thick or thin!  While there are bad times and good times, he holds me up, he tolerates me, he provides for me.
My parents are another source of sustenance.  They are always there to talk, to care for me, to help watch their grandchildren, to provide home and food when it was needed, and have always walked with me through my trials.
I also need to add my children.  They sustain me by giving me a reason each day for what I do.  God  gave me these precious children as a gift.  They are the reason that I get up each day and help them grow to their greatest potential.
My church community is another source of support.  Most importantly, they help me maintain my relationship with God.
Another support is my phone … and it’s not even to call people … my calendar is on it!  My calendar is my prop for remembering things.  I have a horrible memory and if it’s not written down then my brain likely won’t remember it.  J
I have Depression.  Too often this is seen as something just in the head, but it is a disability just like Multiple Sclerosis or Diabetes.  Every day I take medication to maintain my brain chemicals.  My medication is another support.  When I do not have it or it is not functioning correctly, I cannot get through the day.
If any one of these supports were to not be a part of my life, I would struggle greatly in leading my everyday life.  Often I forget that they are there surrounding me and encouraging me.  It takes an activity like this … writing them down … to help me remember what provides for me, gives me a solid foundation, and sustains me through every life event.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Recent Videos Discovered

Sir Ken Robinson -- "Do schools kill creativity?"
We are educating children out of their creativity 
Shakespeare was in someone’s English class…..

Another great one:
Stuart Brown -- "Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some more great Quotes

Was cruising the blogging world and found some great quotes to share....

I tried to teach my child with books.
He gave me only puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words.
They passed him by often unheard.
Despairingly, I turned aside.
"How shall I teach this child?" I cried.
Into my hand he put the key
"Come," he said, "play with me."
-      Unknown

"I really am your gift. I am not just a little person who needs to be "raised" and taught, and taken to activities...I came to the people in my life to bring a message: slow down. Feel. Be. Over and over again. When you do, you will notice immediately, that I am not an obstacle to your work, or inconvenient to your daily life. Instead, you will come to appreciate my honesty, humor, presence and love." - Bruce Scott

“Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be.”
 - Joan Ryan

“Treat me exactly as you would want me to treat you - exactly. Do not punish me ever. Teach me. Hold me. Love me. Trust that I, just like you, want to do what is right. Help me understand what I don’t know. Don't call me names, or label me or compare me, or make me compete for anything. Help me cooperate and collaborate. Be the example for me.” – Bruce Scott

“A person’s a person no matter how small” – Dr. Seuss

“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.” – Dickson

Children Are...

Amazing,cherish them.
Believable, trust them.
Childlike, let them.
Divine, respect them.
Energetic, nourish them.
Fallible, embrace them.
Gifts, unwrap them.
Here Now, be with them.
Innocent, delight in them.
Joyful, appreciate them.
Kindhearted, join them.
Lovable, love them.
Magical, fly with them.
Noble, esteem them.
Open-minded, hear them.
Precious, treasure them.
Questioners, encourage them.
Resourceful, support them.
Spontaneous, enjoy them.
Talented, believe in them.
Unique, affirm them.
Vulnerable, protect them.
Whole, recognize them.
Xtraspecial, celebrate them.
Yearning, notice them.
Zany, laugh with them.

© Meiji Stewart.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Childhood Connections to Play

My mom was (and still is with my children) an incredible early childhood professional before it was a profession.  She would get on the floor and play with us, make games, promote crafts, and reading and music were essential, yet she would still send us away to do our own thing often.  I remember creating plays, making food from dirt, riding bikes up and down the street, heading to the creek to hop rocks, and walking through the woods and field by the radio station.  There are two memories stick out the most. 

The first is playing with the giant tinker toys!  They are just what you think.  Tinker Toys on steroids.  I can’t remember all the things that we would make with them, but the favorite was always a house.  As a product from the 80’s they are only available on ebay, yet my mom saved ours.  Some of the pieces are broken and we have a limited stash now, but my kids even love them … on the special occasions I get them out.  I still treasure these pieces of plastic. 
My kids playing with my old tinkertoys!
The second memory is the warmest day on record during Christmas break in the north!  Some of my friends were getting out their shorts … but that’s another story.  That day most of the neighborhood ended up at our house and my sister and I had brought out quite a few stuffed animals and had them hanging on our playset with ourselves.  Stuffed animals were a favorite of mine and I have passed that gene onto my son.  I remember in 6th grade (I think), my friend and I still played with our animals and even had a wedding between 2 of them.  LOL.

As a child I was given the opportunity to just go and play and was able to use my imagination and create some amazing stories in my head.  Even as I got older, I would use snow days as an excuse to act like a 5 year old and go make a fort, battle the younger kids for king of the hill, and make the largest snowman ever. 

This is something that I want to be able to give my children … and I think I am not doing that bad of a job of it.  Just this afternoon they were in the backyard playing with “ooze” (mixture of cornstarch and water).  At one point, my 7-year-old told my 9-year-old that she was going to be the nurse now.  Not sure how it related to the ooze, but they were using their imaginations. AND I wasn't quick enough to get the camera and document the white stuff everywhere.  :)

As much as play is important for their life, it is also important for me as an adult.  My passion is scrapbooking, yet do not find the time to engage in this creative outlet often enough.  This is where I am able to play, stretch my imagination, try different textures and color combinations, record stories and memories, and get totally lost in the endeavor that I forget to eat … or eat a whole bag of M&M’s because they are sitting next to me.  J  Here is a recent endeavor:  

Children need the freedom and time to play.  Play is not a luxery.  Play is a necessity.  - Kay Redfield Jamison

Play energizes us and enlivens us.  It eases our burdens.  It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.  - Stuart Brown

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Classmates!

I had a wonderful week off of school last week.  We just got back from a family camping trip and I am ready to dive right into my next class "Effective Programs and Practices."  Hello to my new classmates for the next 8 weeks and here's to the journey!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My new blog life

When I started on this educational journey in January, I also started on a journey of reading blogs.  I am now subscribed to (I think) 16 blogs all about teaching preschool and the ideas that they develop - or borrow - and how they worked in the classroom.  Working with 2- and 3-year-olds can be hard in that their developmental levels are so varied.  Books do not always provide the ideas that work, since they are focused on the text-book child that doesn't exist.  So you need to check some of these out.
Sand and Water Tables at   He has some great videos of kids playing in his tables!
Another favorite  at 
I also need to say thanks to some of my new colleagues!  We are finishing our 2nd class on our way to receiving a masters in early childhood studies.  I an excited about continuing this journey with you!
Angie's Early Childhood Blog
Childhood Blog Blog Blog!
Developing Early Childhood
Early Childhood Education in the 21st Century
Southern Soul Rising
Oh ... and then there is pinning.... but we won't go there.  So between my school work, teaching and lesson planning, being a mom and wife, I have found time to blog and pin.   Ahhh, the world of technology!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Intelligence Testing

My family of geniuses trying to figure out the best way to erect a 20 foot Christmas tree of only lights.... I stayed away and let my husband join the fun!

The combination of genetics and environment has worked well for my family.  I grew up in a family of three where my father has a PhD (bio-physics at that!), my sister and I tested into gifted programs in elementary school, and my brother is brilliant.  My own children are doing amazingly well in school and continue to be at the top of their classes (in 1st and 3rd grade). This is why I went into education.  In particular my brother…  As I said he is brilliant!  He also has a learning disability and in elementary school they would not do an IQ test because he was testing at needing to be in a resource room for reading.  He has struggled through school and does not like to be an advocate for himself.  I remember him understanding the concepts of algebra in preschool, yet reading and writing were difficult for him.  In High School he went to the School for Science and Math in North Carolina which is a residential school for juniors and seniors around the state to “where students study a specialized curriculum emphasizing science and mathematics.” 
I went into school with a focus on special education, thinking that it would include a focus on the low and high ends of the bell curve.  In fact, there is little known about those with a high IQ compared to the wealth of knowledge we have on those on the opposite end.  There are many commonalities between the two and what we have learned about education for one subgroup can easily be applied to any other subgroup (middle, high, low etc). 
The purpose of an IQ test is to determine a person’s mental abilities relative to others of the same age.  If you score below 100 you are mentally at a younger age than the average, same goes if you are above the average.  I was reading an article on this topic and realized that if we take the children who fall in the center portion of the bell curve, this includes all children from an IQ of 70 to 130.  All of these children are typically placed in the same classroom in the United States.  At 3 years old, their mean age has a disparity of 1.8 years.  By 6 years old the disparity is 3.6 years and at 12 the disparity has grown to 7.2 years.  What does this mean for educators?  I’ll let you come up with your own conclusions.    
We may not have a schooling system in the United States that meets our highest achieving students and helps them completely in the ways they need, but we do have a system that is beginning to see their needs and provide supports.  This is opposed to so many in the world, who are unable to attend school, let alone have an intelligence test done or receive supports on the low or high end of the bell curve.
I decided to keep my focus on Madagascar again and see what their education system is like.  They do have mandatory education for children 6 to 14.  Nevertheless, like I wrote before, child labor is rampant in the country and many children are not offered the opportunity for an education due to their work.  In 2000, 14% of the children continued their education and enrolled in secondary school (age 12 to 17).  The UNESCO has been working with Madagascar for the “Education for All” up until 2009.   The political unrest in Madagascar has limited the ability to help education all the children and poorer and rural areas definitely suffer more.
As an early childhood educator at heart, I have been trained to teach to each individual child’s strengths and weaknesses.  If all educators were to take that stance, we would be grouping children by strengths and weaknesses, not by their IQ or label.  Determining IQ and labels should only be used when more information about the child is needed, but even that does not always give needed information.  When we focus on strengths and weaknesses, we look at each individual child and developing an education plan for that child.  I know that there are a lot of politics and financial issues there, but that in my opinion is what is needed in the United States and around the world. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Getting Dressed in the Mornings!

To anyone who has not had young children in the home, this sounds like an easy task, but when there is so much learning going on at the same time, changing out of pajamas and putting on clean clothes for the day can often be a challenge. 
Biosocial development that is happening includes coordinating body movements as well as the left and right sides of the body and brain.  Gross motor movements include putting arms in sleeves, legs in pants, shirt overhead, or the opposite in taking off pajamas.  Fine motor skills are needed for zippers, buttons, snaps, gabbing and holding the clothing, and tying laces.
Cognitive development is occurring as children develop the sense of independence and “I can do it” mentality.  Their memory and language skills are at work in remembering what each piece of clothing is called, where it goes on the body, in which order does it go on and what body parts need to be controlled to get the clothes on or off.
Psychosocial development is seen in the child’s assertions of their opinions and development of a sense of self-worth.  They are also exploring gender in the clothing they are wearing.
All of this learning is occurring while the adult uses scaffolding to help the child develop these skills to be independent.  And oftentimes the adult is practicing a lot of patience.

This is from an assignment from last week - and just wanted to share!  :)  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Malagasy Children and Child Labor

I have been blessed to not have endured stressors during my childhood.  I asked my parents if they had and my dad shared a story with me I had never heard.  He was never allowed to ride a horse because my grandmother had been thrown off a horse and then stepped on by the horse.  As a result, my grandfather had to do the heavy lifting with the laundry because she had hurt her back.  While not a real huge stressor in childhood, it is a true example of how one incident can affect so much of your life.  In the 20’s and 30’s it was not common for the husband to help with the laundry.

I decided to look at Madagascar again, as that is where our friends are serving.  Check out their amazing journey here.  Some of the great stressors on childhood in Madagascar are: violence against children, forced marriages for girls, forced child labor, lack of care, environmental issues, and discrimination.

Through my reading I found the term “Worst Forms of Child Labor” which includes slavery (sales, trafficking, serfdom, forced labor, using children in armed conflict), Sexual exploitation of children (prostitution & pornography), and using children for illegal activities.

The question is posed “Why is it urgent and important to take action against the worst forms of child labor?  Their answers include:
  •  It is a matter of human rights
  • It is a matter of saving lives.
  • It is a matter of combating some particularly odious forms of organized crime.
  • It is a matter of protecting children from the horrors of war. 
  • It is a matter of building a nation’s future.
  • It is a matter of international concern.
Photos of beautiful Malagasy children
In Madagascar the child labor imposed on nearly 1.9 million children involves sexual exploitation of children, work in stone quarries and mines, domestic servitude, farm and fishing industry work, and other work in dangerous and unhealthy urban and rural jobs.  This represents 20% of 5-9 year olds and 50% of 10-14 year old children are exposed to these labor conditions.

Madagascar has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are in the very beginning stages of enacting government procedures to protect children.  January 20, 2012 the United Nations considered the Madagascar report and their dialogue is posted here.

Along with the governmental work, Pact, a non-profit is working in Madagascar to use education to combat child labor.