Thursday, 23 April 2015

Time Well Spent- My Final Farewell and Thanks

This course and this program as a whole have educated me about best practices for providing effective physical, cognitive and emotional support for the healthy development of the children in my care. Not only has this program educated me, it has ignited my passion for this field and has confirmed my professional purpose. This course in particular aided me in building upon this passion to create a challenge and envision a way in I could help improve this challenge and impact social change.

I learned, as a result of this program that being the best educator I could be is not enough. To create change and truly support the children and families in my care, I and all of us as educators have a responsibility to advocate for those who cannot. There are many injustices in this world to rectify them and to create change someone needs to stand up and exclaim that what is being done, what has been done or the current status quo are not right.

I also learned the importance of collaboration. Throughout the discussion forum comments, we were able to challenge one another, seek clarification and question things that may have been overlooked. I was inspired by my colleagues and their drive, passion and motivation and found that this pushed me.
Finally, this course and program made me look at current practices and examine whether they were truly meeting the needs of every student and every child. It gave me a path to pursue and directed me towards a way to achieve these goals.

A long term goal that I have for myself is to one day inspire others the way that the anti- bias work of Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards has inspired me. Currently I have been considering continuing my educational journey with a Ph.D. in special education. My Capstone focused on Aboriginal injustices in the classroom, I am also very passionate about anti- bias education and diversity concerning children with special needs and exceptionalities. Whatever I do decide, and whatever path I take I just want to ensure that I am providing the best care and education as a teacher. I want to remain optimistic and passionate about this field even when I become overwhelmed, discouraged or frustrated.

I want to thank all of my professors at Walden University and each and every one of my colleagues for their support and encouragement throughout the past two years.

I thought that I would end this course, the way that it began by choosing adjectives to describe my journey and this experience.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Blog Week 6- Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

“The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. That is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important, so as to maximize their future well-being” (Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 2011).

The first International Early Childhood Education Community I decided to focus on this week is The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF appealed to me as an organization because they focus on assuring equality for children. “UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere” (UNICEF, 2015). Their website outlines numerous programs that UNICEF provides supporting children around the world. They improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The UNICEF focus is to build a world where the rights of every child are realized. (UNICEF, 2011). 

Job Opportunity: Education Specialist (Early Learning)
Under the general guidance of the Senior Education Advisor, the incumbent will provide technical expertise and guidance in early childhood development specifically in early learning and school readiness through inter-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approaches.

Job Requirements:
Advanced university degree in Education, International Development, Child Development, Social Sciences or a related technical field.
Eight years of relevant work experience at the national or international levels in education programme planning, management, monitoring, and evaluation, with a specific focus on early learning.
Knowledge and experience of (I) The global development context; (ii) Global developments in education; (iii) Policy dialogue in education; (iv) Education systems and sector planning; (v) Education and policy sector analysis; (vi) Rigorous programme management in education; (vii)  Engagement with partnerships; (viii) Strong understanding of gender in relation to education.
Fluency in English required. Proficiency in another UN language (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) would be an asset.

I believe that I would be right for this job in many ways and fulfil most of the requirements. I have been donating to UNICEF for many years and have also participated in several of their fundraisers. I would love to be involved with an organization such as UNICEF because they are true advocates for children and families living in unjust circumstances in dire need of support.

The second international organization I chose to investigate is the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). The ACEI has a commitment to “support and advocate for access to education, equity in educational settings, quality educational content, and the child’s right to education” (ACEI, 2015). This was my first time encountering the ACEI and I believe that it is a great organization because its goal is for all children to be successful. “ACEI members have acted as social change agents,  involving themselves in various critical societal issues in their efforts to ensure that children around the world are protected, supported, and educated in ways that allow them to reach their full potential” ( ACEI, 2015).

Job Opportunity: Although there were no jobs currently listed or available at the ACEI I was still very excited about their vision and passion for the education of all children and will continue checking to see if anything comes up in the future.

Job Requirements: The ACEI’s slogan “Bright Futures for Every Child, Every Nation” would be important to appreciate and support if I were to work for their organization. I believe that this demonstrates that in order to work for the ACEI I would need to be an advocate for children and their education and passionate about the importance of this endeavor. I also believe that as an international organization appreciation and awareness of multiculturalism and diversity would also be crucial.

The third International Early Childhood Education Community I decided to research is The Division for Early Childhood (DEC. The focuses on the optimal development of young children (0-8) who are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. “The DEC started in 1973 by a group of volunteers who cared deeply about the development of young children with special needs” (DEC, n.d.). The DEC holds professional development international conferences, they have e-newsletter, and they have subdivisions across states.

Job Opportunity: There are many jobs listed on the website. One that really stood out for me is that of the Early Childhood Researcher.

Job Requirements: The job requires experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis, instrument design, data collection, early childhood development, and early childhood programs. Must have substantive expertise in a field such as education, public health, special education, early childhood development, or human services. Outstanding writing, speaking, and project management skills and the ability to work collaboratively are required.

The job also requires a Ph.D. in education, early childhood education, child development, developmental psychology or related field. This was a bummer when I read this requirement because although I have a lot of experience and feel as though I would be prepared to work in this role I would not be qualified as of right now without a Ph.D. Again, this is another website that I will continue looking back on to see if any other opportunities present themselves.

It was a great experience this week to see so many international organizations with children at the heart of their commitment. From UNICEF’s commitment to each and every child having equal rights to basic necessities, to the ACEI and their concern with global education for all children and the DEC’s concern with all children especially those with various exceptionalities and disabilities having the right to meaningful education.

Associate for Childhood Education International. (2015). Retrieved from

DEC. Division for Early Childhood. (2014). Retrieved from

Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. (2011). Importance of early childhood development. Retrieved from

UNICEF. (March 30, 2015). Retrieved from

Saturday, 28 March 2015

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

                This week was very exciting, and I was captivated to witness the tremendous amounts of Early Childhood Communities of Practice within the National and Federal level. This research has definitely opened my eyes not only to all of the wonderful programs and organizations established to meet the needs of children and their families but also to the many career possibilities that will be available to me as a Master’s graduate. I am extremely passionate about the early childhood field but had never considered the selection of jobs that support the well-being of children, families, and the early childhood field. 

The first organization I investigated this week is the National Children's Advocacy Center. The website explains that they work to respond to and prevent child abuse through education, service and leadership.  Their community of practice includes agencies, law enforcement and the courts to respond in a timely matter to child abuse issue, as well as, train others to deal with the problem of child abuse  I chose this organization because it encourages organizations to work together to protect children from abuse. There are several employment opportunities that would interest me within this organization. They include prevention director, development director, or intervention director. All of the direction positions require at least five years of experience within the organization. I would also need to have excellent oral and written communication skills and a passion for the advocacy of children and their families.

The second organization I decided to discuss is one that we have already examined in depth throughout this program. Zero to Three is a non-profit organization that began in 1977. They offer excellent resources and embrace a collaborative effort by reaching out to families, parents, and professionals alike. The website is full of resources for a variety of people and purposes, including journal articles, research and even a public policy kit. Under the careers section they state:
“ZERO TO THREE can provide the opportunities and challenges you need to excel. Ours is a truly multicultural and diverse environment, one in which the exchange of ideas is encouraged and where innovation thrives. We're at the forefront of early childhood initiatives. As an organization, we have experienced great growth. We currently employ over 100 staff members. We offer competitive salaries, a comprehensive benefits package, and a pleasant work environment”.

After investigating the current available positions, one that appealed to me is that of Program Manager, Resource Development. As Program Manager, I would be responsible for supervising two senior research analysts/writers and provide guidance, reflective supervision and direction. I would need excellent knowledge and experience with the infants and toddlers, Early Head Start program, child care programs and systems, including Family Child Care as well as at least five years of successful program or project leadership experience and supervision.
Finally, the last organization I examined is one that relates directly to me within Ontario Canada, Child Care Ontario. This organization supports the needs of early childhood educators in their passion and endeavor of working with young children and their families. They collaborate with the elementary education panel regularly in order to bridge the gap between early childhood education and kindergarten. As a previous kindergarten teacher this employment opportunity is one that I am most eager to pursue. I would love to work for this organization as a consultant, planning curriculum or training between both fields as I am experienced in both. Unfortunately no positions were listed at this time but this is definitely an organization that I will continue to pursue in the future.


National Children’s Advocacy Center. (2015). Retrieved from

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. (2014). Retrieved from

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). Information for Child Care Professionals. Retrieved from

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

Throughout my research this week for the application task I discovered many organizations dedicated to children’s services that I did not know of before. For my Capstone Project I have decided to focus on child services provided to Aboriginal children and families in my community.

Organizations and Communities of Practice in Thunder Bay

The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board


The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board (TBDSSAB) provides services to the community in general including childcare, housing and Ontario Works. In greater detail, these services include ways to access a child care fee subsidy, special needs resources and family supports and resource programs. With regards to Housing supports, the TBDSSAB offers affordable housing programs including rent geared to income, rent supplement programs, social housing programs and home renovation supports (Ontario Renovates). Finally, in supporting employment needs the organization offers financial and employment assistance, community placement programs and addiction services along with a return to work program. This organization would be extremely beneficial to any family that approached me with needs involving these three major life areas. I believe that it is extremely important that we as educators are aware of the resources available in order to support families in need. I also strongly admire the values and mission statement that the TBDSSAB promise with regards to their service. They state:

At The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, we:
 1. Acknowledge that all people have the right to dignity, respect and quality of life.
 2. Respect the diversity of cultures, skills and abilities of all people.
 3. Work in partnership with stakeholders to find innovative solutions.
 4. Provide opportunities for life-long learning that are responsive to people's needs.
 5. Embrace open communication
 6. Effectively manage our human and financial resources.
(The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, 2015)
I would love to work for the TBDSSAB as a support worker or as the head of the special needs department to offer support and resources to families of children with exceptionalities. In order to effectively work as the head of this department I would need to have a degree in ECE and experience working with children and families with disabilities and various special needs. I would need to have excellent communication skills, an awareness and understanding of the organization’s policies and procedures, an ability to make decisions and to lead a team of colleagues dedicated to the needs of the children and families in our care. Finally, I would need to be well connected and aware of services and resources available to families within my community. Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger, 2006, para.3).

The Childcare Resource and Research Unit is an early childhood education and child care policy research institute with a mandate to further ECEC policy and programs in Canada. The website offers a wealth of information for all Provinces within Canada including support and resources for families and professionals. They have section headings that include Online Documents, CRRU resources, CRRU publications, CRRU Project Websites. I chose this website this week because I have just started to explore it as a result of this program. It is great because it offers                 both scholarly resources and more user friendly resources for parents and “hands on” uses. I found it very difficult to find information about career opportunities associated with this organization. I would love to be a researcher for an organization about children’s needs or support. In order to work in a position as a researcher I would need to work in collaboration with other professionals in order to discover new information. I would also need to be current about new trends in the early childhood field.

Children’s Center Thunder Bay

The Children’s Center in Thunder Bay offers free family and individual counselling and mental health support for children and families in need.
“The focus of our services is on children’s mental health issues in the context of the individual child, their family, day care, school and community. Many of the children who come to the Centre are experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which are impacting their functioning at home and at school. We work with both individual children, parents, families and other professionals to address problems and strengthen functioning” (Children’s Center Thunder Bay, 2009).

One thing that I love about this organization is that they have recently launched the program “ACTION! Mental Health” urging youths struggling with mental health issues to come forward and get support. This program is aiding in removing some of the stigma associated with mental health issues and illnesses. A career opportunity available through the Children’s Center Thunder Bay is that of the Communicative Disorders Assistant. Skills and experience required for this position include:
  1.  Knowledge and understanding of children’s mental health, family systems and developmental issues  
  2. Knowledge and experience in working with children 0 through 6 years of age who are struggling with emotional, behavioural, social and developmental issues.
  3. Excellent communication skills both oral and written   
  4. Great team work and collaboration skills


Child care Canada. Childcare resource and research unit (1997-2003). Retrieved from
Children’s Centre Thunder Bay. 2009. Retrieved from
The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board. (2015). Firedog Communications. Retrieved from:

Wenger, E. (2006).  Communities of practice: A brief introduction.  Retrieved from

Friday, 27 February 2015

Blog Week 8 : Reflecting on Learning

As a result of the learning I have gained from the past eight weeks of this course I understand and appreciate the need to teach diversity and anti-bias education in a more profound way than ever before. I want to ensure that I am creating an environment in which authentic lessons about diversity are embedded in the curriculum throughout each and every day rather than just in the celebration of holidays or through concrete lessons. I really appreciate the way in which Hoffman taught us to use each and every lesson to teach something meaningful about various cultural groups, recent issues that evolved in the classroom or any other social injustices. Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards (2010) state that “Anti-bias education work in early childhood is shaped by a deep-seated belief in the importance of justice, the dream of each child being able to achieve all he or she is capable of, the knowledge that together human beings can make a difference” (p.9). When we began this journey towards anti-bias education we were told that it would take a personal commitment. I am truly committed and dedicated to this professional endeavor because I not only believe that it is crucial for the healthy development of all children but I am also amazed and honored at the opportunity we as educators have to make a difference.

I would like to take a minute to thank each and every one of my peers for their support during the past eight weeks. I have learned and have grown as a result of the rich discussion and insight that has taken place through both the blog posts and the discussion forum.

Thanks again, and best of luck in future courses and endeavors- we are almost there!


Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Impacts on Early Emotional Development

For this week’s Blog Assignment I researched the efforts that are occurring in Haiti through UNICEF. As I have already mentioned throughout this course, a few years ago shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, I had a young Haitian girl come into my classroom as a transnational student. It amazed me how resilient she was in overcoming all of the horrors, loss and pain she faced.
I chose Haiti, because due to the 2010 earthquake many children were left orphaned, homeless, and abandoned in the destruction. “On Jan. 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck Haiti, killing more than 160,000 and displacing close to 1.5 million people” (Laurent, 2015).

Statistics about poverty in Haiti:

1) As a result of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 approximately 230,000 people were killed in a matter of moments and 2 million others were displaced.

2) Over 70,000 homes, businesses and public buildings were destroyed and nearly 5000 of these include schools.

3) 500,000 children in Haiti are living in camps and many others living in slums. These children lack the protection of social and police services, and are under continued threat of exploitation and abuse.

Currently, the country is not only feeling the aftermath from the destruction of the earthquake, they are also facing an outbreak of cholera because of displacement issues, problems with sanitation and clean water. “Until every household has access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, cholera and other water-borne diseases will remain a potential threat to vulnerable families throughout the country,” said Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. “We count on the support of the UN and that of international partners to make this a reality” (Unicef, 2014).
These experiences can have a huge effect on a child’s emotional wellbeing and development because not only can this affect their immediate health but constant stress, fear and uncertainty can definitely impede a child’s healthy development and emotional well-being.

All children are entitled to the basic necessities (food, clean water, shelter, education) that many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, this is not the reality that many children in Haiti face. This experience, of researching children in other countries made me reflect personally on all I have and take for granted. Even within my role as an educator, I am shocked at what some of my students face and the instability within their lives. It is my job as an educator to provide consistency and support and to be knowledgeable about the supports available in order to provide resources to the children I care for.


Laurent, O. (2015). Haiti Earthquake: Five Years After. Retrieved from:

Unicef (July 16, 2014). Retrieved from:

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Sexualization of Early Childhood

Share your reaction to the topic of the sexualization of early childhood.

Children are taught about sexualization as well as gender stereotypes and expectations early on. With that said, while reading “So Sexy So Soon”, I was discouraged, but not entirely surprised by the information given. Sexual representations are depicted everywhere we look. In commercials, movies, television shows, magazines and even children’s books and media segments intended for children. This week’s article explains that there is a difference between sex and sexuality versus sexualization. “When people are sexualized, their value comes primarily from their sex appeal, which is equated with physical attractiveness” (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009, p. 4). We have all heard the harm and confusion that beauty magazines cause for children. They aspire to look like perfect photo shopped models and feel insecure and inferior when they do not. It is amazing to think that cartoon characters are just as easily impacting the way in which children see themselves in comparison to media portrayals. “Long before very young children are aware of or have words for what they are doing, they internalize a profound sense of “rightness” and familiarity with the particular way the people in their culture behave” (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010, p. 58). It is important for us as educators to understand that by preschool age children are beginning to develop group cultural identities and other social understanding. This can be a very delicate, confusing and abstract process especially for those children who do not closely match the “dominant culture ideal” (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010). This cultural ideal can easily be associated to the way in which a specific sex should look or act.

Provide three or more examples, from your personal or professional experience, that further illustrate the exposure of young children to a highly sexualized environment. Explain the implications this may have on children’s healthy development. Include ideas you might have, as an early childhood professional, to best respond to these concerns and to reduce the negative impact on children.

When I was teaching a grade two class, I was shocked at hearing some of my young female students singing Rihanna’s song S&M, while doing a very risqué dance in the hall. They were obviously mimicking what they had seen watching a music video. I think that parents need to not only filter what young children are exposed to, but have open discussions about what children are seeing and doing openly. I have seen many media examples such as beauty pageant television shows for children such as Baby Beauty Queens or Toddlers and Tiara’s. These children are wearing skimpy clothing, tons of makeup and embodying artificial beauty (fake hair extensions, air brushing etc.) these young children are being subjected to sexualization at such an early age and they are showing other children that this is the expectation for them as well. Exposure to this sexualized expectation can impact and impede on a child’s healthy development for various reasons. “Such lessons will shape their gender identity, sexual attitudes, values, and their capacity for relationships, for love and connection that they take into adulthood” (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009, p. 2). Finally, even the dolls and shows intended for young children offer very stereotypical and highly sexualized examples to young girls about what they should look like and how they should act. Both educators and parents need to be aware that these messages are being received by young children and that they could be consciously and unconsciously affecting their view of self and their opinion of themselves and others.

Describe the ways in which your awareness of the sexualization of early childhood has been influenced and/or modified by studying the topic this week.

As I mentioned, I have been aware of the sexualization of childhood for quite some time and it is something that we discussed within other courses as part of this program. This week’s resources and assignments, however, made me think about the way in which sexuality and sexualization has evolved through media representations. How the expectations have changed and therefore the way in which gender norms are perceived have changed as well. Sexuality is much more overt in today’s media, however, I believe that the messages and expectations have always been there. All of the examples I referenced above related to female children. I do not know if this is a coincidence, if I am more sensitive to female sexualization because I myself am female or if female children are targeted more often. This week’s tasks made me reflect and ponder this question as well.


Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Levin, D. E., & Kilbourne, J. (2009). [Introduction]. So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids (pp. 1-8). New York: Ballantine Books. Retrieved from: