System Building Reflection

Being part of this team of has helped me grow and develop as a professional in many ways. I have gained a deeper appreciation for working as a team and learning from those around me. By working together and appreciating the knowledge and passion of others, we can improve the early education experiences for so many children. This community has also broadened my support system as I go forward in my career. I will utilize all that I have learned from my colleagues and am confident that in the future I will be able to tap into their knowledge even more. Growing together as a team has helped increase my confidence as someone who will advocate for families and children. Knowing that there are others in my field who share my passion and are working hard to improve the lives of children, helps me to sometimes step outside my comfort zone and fight for what is right for the families I work with.

I have developed so many goals for myself along this journey. There are so many ways in which I hope to make an impact on the world of early childhood education. I hope to always remember that I am not working alone, and to reach out to those around me that may know more than I do. I realize that we can accomplish so much more as a team, than I can on my own.

Thanks!

I cannot believe we are getting so close to the end!! With every week that passes, I am inspired by the passion and dedication I find in all of you! Thank you so much for your support and your insights. I am confident that all of you will be successful in whatever you pursue, and I am sure that children will benefit from having such wonderful people working for them!! Good luck as we go through the last few classes, stay focused and remember that we are all here to make a brighter future for the small ones we love so much!!

Quotes 2

“I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!” -David Vitter, U.S. senator

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela

Child Assessment

In order to provide children with all of the support and quality education, we have to look at the WHOLE child. We must take into consideration all parts of a child’s development, and how they effect each other when a child is learning. If a child has difficulty communicating, is there also an issue with what they are understanding? If a child is having trouble accessing their classroom due to gross motor issues, is that child able to concentrate on the information that is being taught? Knowing and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of children, can help teachers and other professionals provide them with the highest quality of education.
That being said, I believe the way in which school age children are assessed currently, is not providing a good picture of strengths and weaknesses for all children. Teachers are being forced to “teach for the test” so that children will perform appropriately and standards will be met. What information and opportunities for learning are being missed? What happens for the children who do not test well? They may know the information, but the actual test taking is a problem. I do not believe that all children are being provided the best education they can receive. They are not being evaluated holistically and with understanding that all children are unique. It is a difficult task, and one that can be very overwhelming, but if we are to ensure that all children are reaching their full potential, should we not take whatever measures necessary to understand a child completely and as individuals?
I believe that we are making steps in the right direction. In NC we have adopted the Common Core Curriculum, and the End of Grade testing will look very different. This is an attempt to provide children with more time to learn and allow for more attention to be given to those who need it. In China, they have also recently adopted a model similar to this one. They previously held the same idea of standard testing and everyone working for the end goal. It even effected teachers salaries when their students did not perform well. China has recently adopted a national curriculum that allows for much different assessment criteria for children.
“Build up a new evaluation system aimed at facilitating students’ whole development. It will not only assess students’ achievement, but also discover and develop students’ potential in various ways, identify their needs in development, help them to develop their self-understanding and self-confidences. Evaluation needs to play its role in educating and facilitate students’ development.” (MOE, 2001, Guide Line no.14)
They have begun to view their children holistically and take into consideration their uniqueness and possible special needs. Using the assessments as tools for teaching and deciding what needs more attention in a classroom, instead of a measurement for children’s ability, ensures that they are looking at the whole child and focusing more on how and what is being taught, rather than on what the end score on a test is.
I believe we could take an example from China and how they have begun assessing their children. I know that assessment is important and it is a necessary part of educating and measuring children, but I think we have all put far too much emphasis on the test and the score, rather than on what each child has gained from their educational experience.

References

Lingbiao, Professor Gao. (2007). Assessment reform in China: A respond to the international trend in the new century. Retrieved from http://xypj.cersp.com/GLB/LUNWEN/200701/3223.html

Stressors for children

In my work, I see daily the effect that outside stressors can place on children. I see children who are living in poverty, living with diseases, hunger and abuse. A lot of the environments I go into to see children are noisy and chaotic, and certainly not conducive to appropriate development. These children are already struggling, whether it is from developmental delays, or physical limitations, and these stressors only make things more challenging.

Poverty is a huge stressor that I see children dealing with every day. Their families are not able to provide them with food, clothes or other essentials. They do not have toys or books, they do not have transportation and they do not get much interaction outside of their homes. Children have a great resiliency about them, and they are able to thrive in environments we would think impossible. A lot of these children do not know any other kind of life, they have always lived this way and they do not realize there is anything missing. It certainly makes a huge difference however, if the parents are involved and working for their children. The families that I see who are doing all that they can, are trying to work and who are involved and proactive with their children, have much more success in the development of their children. If they are advocating and participating in the lives of their children, then they are able to help them to be more successful. Unfortunately, not all parents are involved and some even become abusive or neglectful. They are dealing with the stress of their economic situation and sometimes do not make appropriate choices for how to handle their children.

I work with several families right now from Pakistan. By our standards in America, these families would be considered to be living in poverty. However, if you were to ask them, they conditions they are living in in America are far better than what they would have in Pakistan. The economy in Pakistan is such that there are families who are forced to abandon their children to orphanages or to even kill them before killing themselves. They see it as the only solution. If something were to happen to the parents, then the children would not be able to survive and so they take all of their lives. Children are not able to thrive in these types of situations. Families are not able to focus on their development. Their main concern is to survive and how to feed their children. A lot of the children end up working and trying to help support their families, and therefore are not receiving any education. If they choose not to abandon their children, or kill them, these families are all working towards a better life for their children. So, the families I work with, may be struggling and when we see them, we may think they are doing without a lot. However, they consider themselves lucky to be where they are, and to have more opportunities for themselves and their children.

 

References

Guerin, Orla (2010). The ultimate tragedy of poverty in Pakistan. Retrieved September 29, 2012 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8775926.stm

 

A passion for reading!

There are so many children’s books that I love. Some people would come into my home and say that we have enough books to fill a public library! I have worked hard to instill a love of reading in my children, and I am happy to say that they are as passionate about it as I am. There are so many opportunities to learn, imagine, connect and grow when we read! One of my favorite children’s books is Oh The Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss. Just the title of this book puts a smile on my face! The book talks of all of the opportunities, chances, goals and roads children will have as they grow.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

It speaks confidence and gives children an idea that anything is possible, but also lets them know that sometimes we will fail. The important thing is to pick yourself up and keep trying.

“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I love this book for what it says to children, but also what it says to me as an adult. It reminds me that anything is possible, that I can work and achieve my goals, that there are people who love and support me and that the sky is the limit! Everyone needs that reminder every now and then!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.