Welcome to Reaching for New Horizons!!!!!

This blog was created to share my experiences as I journeyed toward my then Master of Arts degree to my now doctoral degree in Early Childhood. Feel free to share your great experiences in this great field.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Using Communication Skills to Enact Change

After completing the Communication Anxiety Inventory, I considered what skills are included to be an effective communicator. I learned that there are four communication skills.  They are as follows:

Then I also found this information regarding communication skills.

Then I reviewed my score again on the "Communication Anxiety Inventory."  I received a 32.  According to the inventory, my level is low and "I am comfortable communicating in most situations and feel confident in anticipating such encounters." I thought this was very interesting because it truly reflects the person I am.

I do think it is important to be aware of ones areas of strength and weakness when communicating with others.  I think is it is also important to have strong oral and written communication skills. I do think I need to improve my critical listening and academic writing skills.  I feel improving these areas will help me to be more effective in understanding another person's point of view as well as being able to clearly communicate my thoughts with others.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Social Media’s Influence on Policy Issues

Over the course of my policy issues class, I have come to appreciate all that goes into forming a policy issues and providing information that will soundly support why an issue should become policy.  I have also learned the various funding sources that are behind some of the research for groundbreaking policy.  However I have found that it is important to have a platform to discuss policy issues to learn the trending thoughts of others in the early childhood field. 

After looking at several social media websites to communicate, I feel the best two websites to best communicate my policy issue would be Linkedin and Twitter.

I selected Linkedin as one avenue to communicate my issue because of the large professional network.  Members of the website can connect with other professionals.  They can follow companies to learn about initiatives the company is participating.  Also on this website, groups or forums can be formed to discuss specific topics relevant to career fields such as early childhood education.  I think a benefit of this website is the opportunity for open discussion about a variety of topics.  However I think a challenge maybe getting enough exposure and the conversation reaching those persons that can continue to push it forward.

Then I selected Twitter as the other social media website because of the large variety of agencies and persons that participate.  On the website its states "Twitter helps you create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers." Because of the opportunity to share information instantly and the fact of many politicians, advocacy agencies, and other stakeholders being able to access and receive information makes this website a good choice. I think a benefit of using this website is the large number of key participants like those in the federal, state, local political arena as well as advocacy organization such as the National Association for the Education for Young Children.  A challenge is my policy issue getting lost in the many topics that trend on the Twitter website.  I would definitely need other individuals interested in the topic to keep the conversation going and generate more interest.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Goals in Understanding Policies in the Early Care and Education System

When I began my career as a preschool teacher in 1991, I had no idea of the necessity or importance of policies and systems.  Also I did not consider how they affect the day to day operations of school program. However as I matured in my career, I developed an understanding of having policies and procedures to ensure quality programs.  Over the last decade, my lens of policies and systems have become somewhat clearer of how the education field is effected by the political climate.  However as I progress through this class the three specific goals I would like to accomplish are:

1.       Better understanding the connection between learning outcomes and federal funding.

2.       How the federal political figures determine initiatives that will be introduced in the early childhood field

3.       What elements in early childhood systems aid in determining the need/requirement educational credentials for early childhood care and education teacher.

These three goals will help me to understanding how research results of learning outcomes impact laws that are passed at the federal government level.  As the decisions to pursue new initiatives such as Race to the Top are presented, understanding how the benchmarks are developed.  These goals will help me in under subsystems and areas I want to focus on to support social change in the early childhood care and education field.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Foundations of Learning and support

I saw this  wonderful video in a professional development and had to share with other teachers and my student-teachers I work with.  Now I want to share it on my blog because I think it embodies the impact of what we do and the foundation children need to succeed.   The video is from Ounce of Prevention.  Here is there web address.  http://www.ounceofprevention.org/home/index.php Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Final Thoughts.....

As an education practitioner, I believe it is necessary that educators understand and remember that being a part of the early childhood field requires one to be a lifelong learner.  This means reading the latest trends, new research findings, and updates regarding the early childhood field as it relates to the political agendas of politicians.  Then as a growing scholar practitioner, I better understand the necessity to research the study and findings of the various topics that impact the field to determine where changes in be made for positive social change.

As I reflect upon the material via books, online articles, and videos assigned for this course, I must say I have enjoyed reading the three assigned books.  Those subject matter in the books was a reminder that as an education practitioner, I must be supportive of all families and respect cultural differences. A quote I really love from the book, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves is
We find these joys to be self-evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect.  The embodiment of life, liberty, and happiness, children are original blessings, here to learn their own song.  Every girl and boy is entitled to love to dream, and belong to a loving “village.” And to pursue a life of purpose. – Raffi, “A Covenant for Honouring Children” (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010, p.1)

I thought this quote embodied what we would want for every child. I believe it also gives to what myself and other education practitioners do to provide children the opportunity in partnership with their families to “learn their own song.”    I also thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Four Core Goals of Anti –Bias Education and the “Goals for the Anti-Bias Teacher.”   This was my first experience with this subject and it has really enhanced my perspective.  It also has caused me to reflect on the thought process I use when working with diverse groups of learners and their families.  Even though I am not in the classroom, a part of my role as an education manager with my current work environment is ensure the teachers understand best practices for the classroom.  This includes understanding how to work with diverse families and family structures.  The information present in the course book “Understanding Families: Supportive Approaches to Diversity, Disability, and Risk” help to broad my view even more.  I will be sharing information from this book with both teachers and student-teachers.
Finally as I reflective upon my major course project for class, I am truly change.  Researching father involvement gave me so many views of aspects that must be consider when thinking of why a father may or may not be involved.  It is not just a dad choosing not to be involved.  There can be elements such as cultural beliefs, beliefs regarding interacting with girls versus boys, educational backgrounds, marital status and socioeconomic status.  What have learn is that research study findings show that fathers being positively involved with their children truly make a differences in their social emotional, language, and cognitive development.  Dads make the difference.

Whereas I was nervous about completing a research study, I am more comfortable researching and reading various scholarly research.  I believe I will be a better adjunct instructor and education manager for those educators I support and nurture.  I feel am also being positively equipped to make great impacts on the field of early childhood education.  I must also say I have been greatly impacted by the discussions with classmates and fellow practitioners.  This has been a great class journey!
Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Hanson, M. J., & Lynch, E. W. (2013). Understanding families: Approaches to diversity, disability, and risk. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Interviews with Professionals in the Family and Community Partnership field

Having the opportunity to interview two professionals working in the family and community partnership field has been quite enlightening.  The two ladies have both work in the Head Start program.  However they also offer to different perspectives.  One of the interviewees currently does a great deal of work with a fatherhood initiative program. She is very passionate about her work because her father was a positive role model in her home. She desires for children to be able to experience a positive relationship with their father or significant male figure.  My other interviewee believes it is important to prepare teachers to promote family and male involvement.  She feels some teachers personal experience may hinder promotion of family and male involvement in the classroom.  She shared building the capacity of teachers in this area is critical of building teacher parent partnerships.

The process of interviewing these very busy ladies has been challenging due to their schedules.  They are both doctoral candidates and do a lot of community work.  I have work to be flexible with their schedule while making sure I meet class requirements.  I am gaining insight on things I can do more efficiently as I am fast approaching my project study.

I have found as I am progressing through this course project that my topic is leaning heavily toward male involvement and less to parent involvement.  I chose the topic of parent involvement because it is so important in young learners lives.  However my challenge topic has led me to look at father and male involvement not just from a local perspective but national and international.  It has been interesting to learn how other cultures view the males role in the child's personal and educational lives. I hope to be able to share this great information with others.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Parent Engage - Getting the Dad's Involved

 The challenge I chose for my course project is Parent Involvement the sub-topic is Fatherhood involvement in early childhood.  I became interested in this topic by way of my current work environment.  I for a Head Start/Early Head Start.  As a program we are called to ensure parents are engaged with every aspect of the program on an ongoing basis.  Moreover we are challenged to ensure there are specific activities that directly engage fathers in the program.  Because of this requirement, I began researching the importance of male involvement in young learners development.  I found according to research "children who grow up with fathers that are actively involved and nurturing have better performance in school, increased self-esteem, and healthier relationships with peers (Green, 2011).

I have found working with children that do not have fathers in the home place some increased pressure upon the mother in some situations.  This could be evidenced in a negative manner if there is not a sound support system. There are children that are sadden when specific events involving fathers occur in the classroom and his or her father is not present to participate.  I have also worked with children that may be in a back and forth situation between the mother and father that has negative effects in the classrooms.  I would like to gain more incite surrounding male or father involvement and its effects in the classroom and home environment.  I hope to be able to share this information in my current work environment and other childcare environments to positively increase involvement.

My questions:

Does cultural or economic status influence male involvement?

How does male involvement influence children's school readiness and subsequent school success?


Green, S. (2011). Reaching Out to Fathers: An Examination of Staff Efforts That Lead to Greater Father Involvement in Early Childhood Programs. Vol. 5 #2Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System. Retrieved from http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v5n2/green.html