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.