Time Well Spent

The last four months of being in this program has really been extremely challenging for me due to so many life altering changes that had taken place. I accepted a new position in a new state and had to move, sell my house, and find a new house. I also had to attend and complete many job trainings because although my job title and expectations of duties are relatively the same, the organization policies and regulation and culture are different. I have a few new responsibilities. Having these challenges and the goal of obtaining my Master’s degree was stressful. I do not know what I was thinking making so many changes at one time. I should have waited until I had completed my degree. However, I must say that I would not change any of this for the world! Attending Walden University has been a blessing to me, even before I have completed my degree. Because of the course I had already completed, I was able to get a better job and it has placed me in the position to receive many more opportunities that will lead me to my ultimate goal of teaching adults in the ECE field.
From this program, I have also learned how to be a better resource tool for ECE professionals in the child development centers. Through this program, I have learned how to research and find information, websites, and network connections that will help train, teach, and empower child care providers and other professionals. I have also been able to provide more information that is useful for parents and families to help them deal and manage challenging children behaviors.
Lastly, I the third think I have learned from this program is that my work in the ECE field is never complete, done, or finished. There is always working to be done. There is always a child’s life that will need help to reach their full potential in our world to be successful beings. No matter how great or small the work you do in the ECE field, it will never go unrewarded or unnoticed. To make a difference in one family or one child’s life is amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a social change.
One long term goal I have now is to one day be able to obtain a Ph.D in Education. I also want to be able to help bridge a gap between making higher education and professional development opportunities more available to ECE professionals in daycare centers and recreational centers and after school programs.
Farewell to my colleagues and Instructor. You all will never know just how much you have inspired me, encouraged me to keep going, and motivated me to think outside the box and dream big! You are all such passionate and wonderful people working in the ECE field for children. The world is truly blessed and lucky to have you in it affecting social change and the world! Keep it up!

 

 

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

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I have explored organizations in ECE Community internationally. This has definitely stretched my imagination in trying to imagine myself in related jobs that foster the well-being of children, families, and the early childhood field.
The first organization I selected was International Early Childhood Education. https://www.icf.com/campaigns/education/international-early-childhood-education. I have never heard of this organization before, but I found them to be interesting because they were unfamiliar to me. I was curious about who they are and what they do in the field. As I searched more on their website, the more I was beginning to think that they are not an organization that is solely dedicated to the ECE field only, but rather, they are an organization that help influence and make changes and affect those in the ECE field. They sound like they are an organization that provides problem solving services. “Clients turn to ICF when they need help tackling the complex challenges that matter most. Our specialists apply their experience-based knowledge and skills to creatively solve problems in the commercial and government markets that impact the world we all share and the services critical for success” (https://www.icf.com/what-we-do-commercial).
ICF established International Early Childhood Education in 2007 in India. They helped India tackle challenges related to the lack of standards, licensing, resource and referral systems, and professional development (https://www.icf.com/what-we-do-commercial). They offer a variety of jobs but I could not find one that was in the early childhood field. But maybe you will have a better luck at finding it through their search engine. Check out the link: https://www.icf.com/careers.
The second organization I chose was the Association for Childhood Education International. (https://www.acei.org). Their mission is “to promote innovative solutions to education challenges and inspire action that creates positive, sustainable futures for children and youth worldwide” (https://www.acei.org). This organization has been around in the early childhood field for 125 years!! I think that is awesome. “ACEI works for the education of all children, but has a special interest in ensuring that our energies are focused on meeting the education needs of the most fragile and vulnerable children” (https://www.acei.org). I have searched this website for career and job opportunities, but I did not find any announcements. I only saw information on how to become a member or volunteer.
The third organization I chose was Unicef. This organization fights to protect the rights of every child all over the world. They believe “all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential to the benefit of a better world” (https://www.unicef.org/about us). Unicef provides career opportunities all over the world. I could not even begin to imagine where I would want to go to work because they are all over the world. They provide a massive job search engine. Check it out and see what you find! https://www.unicef.org/about/employ.

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

 

I have explored three national organizations and federal agencies. These explorations have help me imagine myself in a variety of jobs that foster the well-being of children, families, and the early childhood field. These resources have inspired my thinking about places I might like to work and also roles I might like to take on in the field, now and in the future.

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The first organization I chose is the Association for Early Learning Leaders. National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. “The National Accreditation Commission provides a comprehensive ongoing quality improvement system that acknowledges the diversity of programs through the self-study and award process. Over 1,500 early learning programs in 38 states, DC and overseas participate in the Accreditation process. These include but are not limited to university and college campus based programs, private child care, faith based preschools, head starts, public preschools, corporate centers, DoD programs and employer sponsored programs” (http://www.earlylearningleaders.org). One of the reasons I chose this organization is because I am always interested and passionate about knowledge and empowerment opportunities to “strengthen skills of administrators and enhance the quality of early learning programs” (http://www.earlylearningleaders.org).

The job opportunities for the Association for Early Learning Leaders has many career opportunities available nationwide. This is truly an organization that believes in networking. They provide a search engine where you can enter what interests you regarding a job. Here is the link: http://www.earlylearningleaders.org/networking/opening_search.asp
Check it out; there might be something that interest you or someone you know. The skills and experience varies depending on the role of the job selected. There are job opportunities ranging from a director of a child development center to a preschool teacher.

thNOG5CERWThe second organization I chose is NAEYC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. This is one of my favorite organizations. I use NAEYC criteria in my center when training and observing the program environment. I know that when I meet this criterion, I am ready for my local and federal inspections. NAEYC is such a well known organization. When I think of “national” I think of this organization. Their vision statement is “All young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential” (https://www.naeyc.org/about/mission).

They had advertised for a Director of Marketing and Membership job. However, when I went to look up the job requirements, the job announcement was closed and filled. It sounded really interesting and different. I would have liked to know what skills were required to obtain this type of job. NAEYC also offer internship opportunities. The website advises interested parties to check back in the Spring of 2017 to see a list of opportunities in the Summer of 2017.

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The third organization I chose is the U.S Department of Education. This is a federal organization whose mission is to “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” (https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/about.html).
They provide many programs and grants to support early learning education. As far as job opportunities, they provide many announcements. You will have to enter your preferences into their search engine to find a job that may interest you. Check out the link: https://www.ed.gov/jobs/?src=ft.

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

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Three local or state organizations or communities of practice that appealed to me and why I chose them.

The first local organization that appealed to me was Champions for Children (http://cfctb.org). Champions for Children is an organization that supports the families and children in the Tampa Bay area by educating families and the people in the community about child abuse and neglect. They provide parents programs that train and educate them on how to face and cope with challenges that will empower them to raise healthy and happy children. They believe that prevention and education programs will reach parents who have violent behaviors and parents who just need help and support(http://cfctb.org).

There are 2 job opportunities that interest me from Champions for Children.

1. A Family Resource Specialist.
The skills and experiences needed include the following:
Plan and deliver child developmental playgroups according to program guidelines. This would include but not be limited to: preparing for groups, providing a warm and welcoming environment for participants, facilitating the playgroup experience in line with program expectations, and cleaning up after group. Maintain accurate and timely records. Attend staff meetings, on-going in-service training and reflective supervision as required. Participate in data collection and reporting, as assigned. The requirements for this job are a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in social/behavioral sciences, education or related field. At least five years of relevant experience. Must be sensitive to the culturally diverse population Champions for Children serves. Must be able to pass complete background check and drug screening. Be available to teach classes during non-traditional hours such as evening and weekends (http://cfctb.org)..
2. A Family Education Facilitator.
The skills and experiences needed include the following:
Bachelor’s degree in a social service related field and at least one year of experience working with a family empowerment model. Experience working under the Principles of Family Support, and the ability to work with infants and families. The bachelor degree requirement may only be waived after three years or more of proven quality experience working in the Children’s Board Family Resource Center Program. Family Resource Specialists I must formally apply for the Specialist II position with their Provider Agency. Must be sensitive to the socioeconomically and culturally diverse population served. Knowledge and understanding of basic childcare practices and developmental activities. Knowledge of community based resources. Ability to follow written and verbal instructions. Ability to develop problem-solving skills. Ability to establish and maintain effective working and verbal relationships with others. Ability to develop good listening skills. Ability to establish a trusting relationship with families. Ability to be non-judgmental (http://cfctb.org).

The second local organization that appealed to me was the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.
The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County has served children and families for over 25 years by the granting funding for programs and services (http://www.childrensboard.org). They work with other organizations who share their same vision to provide grants, services, and supports to families, pregnant women, and young children (http://www.childrensboard.org/who-we-are).
The Children’s Board is not currently recruiting for any open positions at this time. However they did provide http://www.nonprofitleadershipcenter.com for anyone who was interested in employment with nonprofit organizations (http://www.childrensboard.org/who-we-are).
The third local organization that appealed to me was the Children’s Home Network. (https://www.childrenshomenetwork.org). The Children’s Home Network is an organization that provides a safe and loving home, nutritious meals, clothing, medical, dental care and transportation. They become a family for children who need homes and healing from abuse.
The job opportunity that interests me from the Children’s Home Network is the Program Coordinator.
The skills and experiences needed include the following:
Master’s Degree in Social Work or other related field. Must be Florida Licensed MHC/MSW or Registered Intern with at least two years of experience providing clinical services to children and families. Ability to manage and direct staff. Ability to manage program budgets and contracts .Knowledge of community resources and comprehensive case management practices. Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing. Ability to document in a clear, concise manner. Knowledge of family-centered and client-driven theory and practice methods. Ability to establish effective working relationships with clients, co-workers, supervisors, and other individuals. Possess effective interpersonal skills. Possess knowledge of effective supervisory skills and employee management techniques. Knowledge of organization’s structure, standard operating procedures, and policies. Bilingual (Spanish) preferred(https://www.childrenshomenetwork.org).
All three of these organizations are awesome and make a great and mighty impact on children and families in the Tampa Bay Area.

Thank You!

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Over the last 8 weeks, my colleagues and I have forged a collaborative learning community. We have shared information and insights with each other and supported each other throughout our journey with attending Walden University. As I prepare to move on into specialization of teaching adults and working with adult learners in the early childhood field, I would like to take a moment to  thank everyone for supporting me and inspiring me on my professional path. If you wish to stay in contact with me on a personal level or to network, please send me an email or leave me a comment and I will share my contact information with you.

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye…

 

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I have formed and been in many groups. It is sort of challenging to think about which groups it was hard to say goodbye or disband.  The adjourning stage was never a problem for me. I blame it on how I grew up. I am an only child and an army brat. We moved around so much that I had to say goodbye and disband from groups. I never had an issue with it because it was a normal part of my life to pack up and leave after so many years and start over again at a new place.

Now that I am older, I have a lot more control over how long I stay in an area or leave. However, it seems to be a little more difficult now than it was when I was younger. The most recent adjourning was last month when I was in training for two weeks with 22 other people. The way had said goodbye was having a group dinner and a birthday celebration. We were so happy to be at the end of our journey that we said our goodbyes the night before.

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The last day of our group meetings, we hugged, exchanged numbers and emails and became friends on social media networks. We were ready to leave and be home with our love ones. However, weeks later and we feel like we really miss each other. We were really a good group of people that I have had the privilege of working with. We got the work done even though we had a few minor hiccups, we still managed very well to get our work completed.

I think when I leave my school colleagues, it will be a little easier to part ways because I do not necessarily talk to them everyday or see them everyday. Our lives have not yet entangled together to the point where we are affected by our decisions or opinions. I think we will have a the same elated feelings of finishing school and accomplishing a goal, but I don’t think it will be challenging to say goodbye.

My work colleagues on the other hand, that will be a little harder. I have been with them for 6 years. I have been with the organization for over 10. There are people who have seen me grow up and “glow up.” We have been through a lot together and have experienced each other on a more intimate level. Saying goodbye will be very hard to do. Whenever anyone leaves, there is some kind of going away or farewell event for them. People come and share their stories and thoughts with the person. It can get pretty emotional.

I think adjourning phase is important because it brings closure to some people. It is the symbolism of a chapter ending and a new one beginning.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Recently, I have attending a training that was designed to help improve my facilitation, communication, and problem solving skills among several other lessons. During this two week long training, I had discovered that it was frown upon to use a certain type of guidance technique for changing children’s challenging behaviors. Last year, I and other work colleagues, had decided to implement a board called, “How Am I Doing Today?” It contained all of the children’s names and a pocket full of red, yellow, and green faces that were smiling, straight-faced, and frowning. The board was designed to help children be accountable for their behavior by them being the ones who would put up the type of face that would represent the kind of day they had. In doing that they would tell their parents what happened during their day that would cause them to have the type of face they selected.

Over the next several months I see that the board is being slightly misused by the teachers. I also observed a child ripping down the faces and throwing them on the floor when he was displaying some challenging behavior. I instructed the teacher to take down the board and explained to her that it was inappropriate for the current situation and environment. She did not fully understand or had forget ton what we had discussed because the next day, a counselor ( who is assigned to our program to help children and families) approached me to tell me that the board is needed and was working for the children in the classrooms.

I instantly felt some kind of way about this conversation. But I remembered some of the tools that was taught in my training. I listened to what she had to say and stuck to the issue. We agreed on what the real problem was. I also explained to her what was my reasons for my decision and my plans for the classroom. After we talked, we were able to come to an understanding and the conflict was resolved.

One approach that I like to refer to and often use is the interest-based relational approach. Check out this video and let me know what you think.

My Communication Skills

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I took an test to evaluate how I communicate and I asked a few people to evaluate how I communicate too. To my surprise, my results were a couple of points different but in the same ranges or category. I was surprised because sometimes I think I over think my conversations and I worry about how someone would perceive me. I always think about how talk to people and what choice of words to use. I also think about my facial expressions and body language. My friends tell me that my facial expressions tell them what I am thinking. However, I think it is because they know me. I do worry that complete strangers might misunderstand me. I would say that my communication skills have improved over the years with my husband. This is the person that I was always afraid to share exactly how I feel and what I was thinking. I was sort of expecting him to already to know things when he did not honestly know. As I got older and more mature, our communication have improved greatly. I am quick to listen and slow to speak. I ask questions when I do not understand. More importantly I am very honest and that honesty creates a respect that we both have for each other. I try to take this important factor in every type of relationship that I have and so far, it stands to be true in all relationships. Honesty is always the best way to go.

Communication Strategies

Do you find yourself communicating differently with people from different groups and cultures?

Surprisingly, my answer would be no. After working in the education, afterschool and recreatiation programs, and early childhood, I have learned to try to talk and communicate “normally” with people. I have also learned that if there are some barriers such as different languages, I try to find out words in their language to communicate and make them feel more comfortable. I also have discovered from the people that have encountered, they appreciate this becuase I do not make them feel like they are not American and I do not ignore their culture or native language.

I think three strategies that could always help me to better communciate with people is to:

  1. be respectful and thoughtful.
  2. don’t be judgemental.
  3. be aware and mindful of my own bias and assumptions and get rid of them. Be open minded.

 

 

Watching Television on Mute

 

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When I read this assignment, I thought to myself, “Ooooh!! Fun!!” I don’t think I have really watched television intently with the mute on. It was kind of weird. I wanted to so badly watch a show that I was familiar with but the assignment is to watch a show that I do not normally watch. So, I chose a talk show. I don’t usually watch talk shows. I chose a show called Home & Family on the Hallmark channel. It was season four, episode 250. It is a two hour long show. I came in about the last thirty minutes of airtime. (Thank goodness too, because I would not be able to watch a talk show in silence for two hours). The show as about cooking, exercising, beauty products and what the participants are doing off the show. The thing about watching television in silence is that you can not look away. You have to be watching all of the time in order to know what is going on and interpret what is being said.

I think the characters’ relationship is very friendly. It does not seem like they hang out off the show but rather they are good co-workers and colleagues. I think this because there is no touching and high-fives between them. Everyone is in their own little space but there is not a closeness that would lead me to believe that they are a family or share any level of intimacy. There is one person who seem to be the comedian. Every time he said something, he made a face and others on the show laughed and smiled. One male seem to be always serious. He did not smile or laugh a lot. The women smiled constantly. Everyone also seem to be opinionated and had something to say. They were very verbal and talked a lot with their hands. Further into the show there was a little skit that they participants put on for the audience. They had on wigs, and dressed like they were in the seventies. They were making faces and singing and dancing silly. When the women got on the stage to do their skit, they seem to have a lot of fun and they made a lot of people laugh and clap their hands. Even the host was laughing and clapping. They seem to be having a lot of fun. It looks like there was a singing or performance contest going on. I think they were dancing to Tina Turner’s song, “Proud Mary”. I could not tell what the men were singing.  The audience was given a chance to vote on who they thought was the best. The men won the challenge.

I think everyone on the show is feeling and expressing enjoyment. They look relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings and with each other. There is no one who is frustrated or angry. There is no apparent drama going on. This is a informative family show where the actors and participants work well together and enjoy sharing information.

When I had watched the show with the sound on, everyone was a little funny. The one guy who I thought was more serious was actually laughing more and smiling more. He was not as serious as I thought he was. There was sarcasm and a lot of joking going on. However, for the most part of the show, it is what I predicted and interpreted it to be when the show was muted.

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If you would like to watch the show, here is the link:

http://www.hallmarkchanneleverywhere.com/Series/Episode/4250#