9 Feb

Beyond The Pages Book Study: Chapter 1 (Week 2)

By Roseann Murphy and Magdalena Palencia

Roseann Murphy           Magdalena P

Dear Colleagues,

At a time when education is increasingly focused on testable skills, policy-makers worry that young children are not prepared, everyone is discussing preschool “curriculum,” and many early childhood professionals are increasingly concerned about the rush to measurable outcomes. These so called curriculums are now finding their way into nurseries across the nation.

Stacie Goffin’s insightful book promoting the professionalism of Early Childhood Education (ECE) is timely and important if we are to keep the direction of ECE focused on what we know to be developmentally appropriate for children in our care. Ms. Goffin’s well thought out steps in this difficult challenge to move forward gives the reader a clear and succinct guide to follow in this age-old profession.

While reading Ms. Goffin’s book, we both felt the spark we have experienced so many times before; the spark to shake up the movement and continue working with colleagues with the intent of further professionalizing Early Childhood Education. The moment we saw Dawn Braa’s online book study we knew we had to be involved and quickly shared Stacie G. Goffin’s book with fellow educators. It became clear that we had to once again become involved with this important movement.

Our activism began in the late 70’s. Roseann’s career began in UCLA Child Care Services. The program was designed as a family child care professional training pilot. Those who were particularly familiar with in-home child care taught providers and educators while paying particular attention to the importance of the people doing the child caring. By developing specific training, support, and parent inclusion in the process, we were able to make this program a success. This program was a microcosm of the work Stacie Goffin is encouraging today. Magdalena’s career in education began as University level instructor. Together, we developed three early childhood programs and a school-age care program. Although our professional careers began on different continents, Magdalena and I realized immediately we were kindred spirits advocating for the recognition and professionalism of those working with children.

We were fortunate to be a part of yet another extremely powerful effort to professionalize the field of Early Childhood Education. Infant Specialist Magda Gerber, her organization known as Resources for Infant Educarers® brought together educators from around the world for the International Infant Conference. The Keynote speaker, world renowned pediatrician and researcher, Dr. Emmi Pikler discussed the importance of support, training and education of those working with the very young. The work of Magda Gerber and Dr. Emmi Pikler has been studied by the many who have continued this movement since the 1930’s.  Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach taught by R.I.E. and Dr. Emmi Pikler’s Approach taught by Pikler/Loczy are two essential early childhood education models. Both Dr. Pikler and Magda Gerber have spent a lifetime organizing, training and supporting those caring for the very young.

Ms. Goffin’s willingness to share her positive outlook is intertwined with the intensity of the “time is now” mentality. If we are going to make a change, we must act now and the need to have educators in the field coming together with a common goal is extremely important.

After forty years in the field, working side-by-side with professionals, we have seen the impact that people less in-tune with child development have on programs and the children in care when they make decisions for the early childhood profession. To appropriately inform policy, we need to include only those specialists who are already involved in the field and parents. We work on a daily basis with the youngest, most vulnerable members of the community and our conversations must include the wide range of carers, educators and specialists but begin with parents. Parents must be included in this conversation, for without them improvements to the early childhood education field will not be accepted, as parents are our nation’s children strongest advocates.

Without a common goal among professionals in ECE, we are faced with inappropriate developmental expectations and may soon find ourselves in a similar situation as those educators and parents who are not satisfied with Common Core. “Developmental Appropriateness” has to be the buzz word of the day when it comes to our discourse, not who can read the earliest and who can sit the longest. To revamp a system that’s still so relatively new and compartmentalized, this introductory chapter advocates for unity, self-reflection, and acknowledgment of what needs to be changed (indeed what has to be changed) in order to make ECE a more consistent, unified field.

We must find a way to give our best teachers the autonomy of space, time, and freedom from most bureaucratic “must-dos” so they can build a community of learning with their children. While “on-the-job” for forty plus years, we have seen the effects of disjointed and compartmentalized Early Childhood Education and educators. Instead of leaving everyone who works in ECE to their own, independent groups, educators, and specialists need to be brought together to become a more organized, professional institution to draw on each other’s collective knowledge in order to inform policy. They can then share the most effective methods and tools for teaching children with parents so parents may advocate for change.

Creating “professionalism” is a very complex task in a society that does not consider its children a priority. If children were a priority, the field would already be professionalized and recognized as an industry worth improving.

The chapter also advocates against including outside influences in policy design. Ms. Goffin refers to this as “help that comes with a price.” In order to gain and uphold true professionalism in the eyes of the public and within the world of ECE, policy changes must be independent from the uninformed.

No matter how well-meaning a supporter outside the field may be, they will undoubtedly have their own agenda during the restructuring of ECE as a field of practice. We believe there is danger in this because to be shaped even partially by an outsider’s values could derail the much-needed reformation of the field. The potential risk of a set-back when the industry desperately needs to move forward is too great already.

ECE is a tremendously complex field which is still in the process of stabilizing into a cohesive form. There are no easy answers to the challenge of professionalizing and unifying the disconnected parts into a symbiotic system. We think the first step, recognition, are well-illustrated in Chapter One and must be our first priority. If society does not admit there needs to be change, any efforts will be lost. We must have very clear goals about the field and what changes we want to make. What are the things we want to unify and why do we want to unify?

We think it is important to keep in mind, beyond everyone’s different beliefs and different approaches, our ultimate goal is the same: to give children the tools, the environment, and the teachers that can help them learn and grow and live in the best way possible. It is critical that prejudice, preconceptions, and ego, are set aside so an honest and open dialogue can be established. Only then can real, lasting change be made to improve the state of ECE and professionalize the industry.

We spent a great deal of time reflecting on and discussing Chapter One. We discussed our impression with fellow colleagues and wrote this review based on our knowledge and experience. We are eager to know how you as educators think we should move forward. We would like to take this opportunity to ask- what do we want to professionalize and unify? Leave a reply below.

Elliot, Enid. We Are Not Robots.  New York: State University of New York Press. 2007.   (Page 37 Paragraph 2)

Gerber, Magda, et all. A Manual for Parents and Professionals. Los Angeles, CA: Resources for Infant Educarers. 1979

Pikler/Loczy. www.pikler.org. January 2016.

*New here? You can find all the book study details HERE. Happy reading!

This book study is sponsored by Redleaf Press

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50 thoughts on “Beyond The Pages Book Study: Chapter 1 (Week 2)

  1. I tend to compare what Stacie is asking for to my two psychological associations. We have ethics, that part will be relatively easy for ECE professionals. We also have empirically supported guidelines and research journals. Having journals suggests that we are not sure of what is correct. ECE professionals will need to not be sure of themselves, as new information is coming in fast, but have a commitment to learning and sharing information. I would hope that an ECE professional organization would be based in such a commitment more than specific issues. Such a base would give parents and those with advanced degrees an equal voice in the association even if parents aren’t also professionals, and are not actual “members.”.

    1. Dear Jack, We are so grateful for your thoughtful comment and your comparison to your psychological associations. Your very succinct thoughts about the profession mean a great deal. “Equal voices” is the key. Professionalization is going to take a great deal of work, as in the health care/medical field, there are so many tiers and so many levels of education. Without the opportunity to work together to come to a mutual understanding of each tier’s worth as we work with young children, we will end up as we are now – having policy makers and program operators/owners making the day to day decisions regarding ECE. It is essential we have those with hands on experience in education assisting in the decision making. Our professionalization will come with a greater understanding of child development, ECE’s history and knowledge of the profession’s leading experts’ research.

  2. SPEAKING GENERALLY ABOUT OUR SPECIAL CHILDREN OF OUR LIVES AND THEIR LIVES AS WELL, WE NEED OUR CHILDREN JUST AS MUCH AS OUR CHILDREN NEED US. EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IS A GIFTED TOOL WE NEED TO KEEP DEVELOPING IN ORDER TO GROW!!!! GOD IS THE KEY TO ANY SUCCESS IN LIFE!!! WE NEED EACH OTHER TO GROW!! WE ALL MUST CONCENTRATE ON MAKING OUR CHILDREN OUR FIRST PRIORITY AT ALL TIMES.

    1. Mrs. Burton, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the Professionalization of Early Childhood Education. I noticed you chose not to share much of your background here, but allow me to introduce you. Your work in the field is very different than most, you have been a part of the foster care system for over twenty-five years. Not as a worker, but as a parent unwillingly immersed in the system. As a parent and a victim of the system in so many ways, you are an important part of this work. Your beautiful statements referring to making our children our first priority is of utmost importance. Your experiences will help those working with parents and children in the system to understand the need for extensive education, compassion, understanding and an attitude of respect. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Roseann and Magdalena

  3. Thank you Cynthia Marie Burton. I could not agree with you more. The professionalization of the early childhood education field depends greatly on how children are being taken into account. When children are made the first priority and treated with the same respect shown to adults, everything falls into place. Unfortunately, children often find themselves in the care of unqualified strangers willing to work for very little pay. Without any attempt to combat this common practice, many children are left at a disadvantage due to inadequate care and education. Similarly, the entire ECE field is affected because caregivers of all levels are treated and perceived as a serving class, not as working professionals. If there were a way to unite professionals in every aspect of ECE, from academics to ECE teachers, one approach would be advocacy for children of all income levels to have greater access to ECE professionals. This method would benefit children most while helping change the antiquated perceptions much of society has about those working in the ECE field.
    – Magdalena S. Palencia

    1. Thank you so much for bringing this up Magdalena.

      There must be a way of gaining respect as professionals from our society. We have so many world renound theorists and advocates in Child Development from whom teachers, administrators, and policy makers can pull from as they make daily choices regarding how they observe, reflect, plan, and interact with children and families. In Illinois standards of quality are constantly being reconsidered as more information on best practice comes to light. One of these changes is requiring advanced training and studies in child development and pedological styles of education for lead teachers in classrooms. Many organizations and individuals have been recommending higher education levels for ECE professionals for a long time. Only when programs weren’t adopting these high standards for quality early childhood education and care did the state step in.

      I’m looking forward to reading the thoughts of other participants and curious if they have considered these issues before. And ultimately wondering “how can we help our society view us as professionals? What do we have to change about ourselves as we can’t change them. What extra work needs to be done to gain respect?

      1. how do we change the thoughts of society? Many just think of us as a play group for children and that we don’t need any training or education.

    2. I agree with this. My question is how do we make home and center based childcare uniform and incorporate the education aspect? Who decides curriculum content? What would impact of said curriculum be on providers financially? Will such changes increase rates?

  4. Excellent review, thank you! I couldn’t agree more with your closing statement and it is one that resonates in the hearts of dedicated ECE professionals everywhere. I worked as a director in non-profit settings for many years and fought like crazy to raise the rate of pay and benefits for my staff. Our ability to pay our staff was directly related to the amount we could charge for our quality program without pricing ourselves out of business. We participated in the local QRIS program, however the same issue remained. We could not offer a pay and benefit package that would attract and or retain staff with a BA in early childhood. I was not the owner of these programs, and tried as I could, the executive boards would not budge. That led me to leave those environments. I couldn’t stay in the same insane cycle of hiring new staff every 3 months. Our work as ECE teachers is hard and requires dedication, yet also a wage that allows us to provide for our own families. Having said that, I also witnessed a drastic decline in the work ethic in general.

    I truly believe in the benefits of the universal preschool programs, however I feel that there should still be room for private, non-profit programs, especially religious programs. I fear they are being squeezed out because they can’t compete in the QRIS world.

    This book study is becoming an important conversation and I look forward to the ideas and thoughts shared. I don’t have the answers yet to how we can move forward. They will come as more people join the conversation.

    Thank you Dawn Braa for organizing this study/conversation.

    1. Sheila, thank you for your comments. We realize the time it takes to be a part of a book study and your experience has been shared by so many in Early Childhood Education. . This book study continues the important conversation and we look forward to your continued input. – Magdalena and Roseann –

  5. I sense some hope in all the comments so far, but mostly I get a pessimistic vibe. That is unfortunate. I do not agree that “our society does not value children” or that ” ECE is a tremendously complex field”. When we use this language, we miss the opportunity to explain ourselves to the world in ways it can understand. We sound defeated and defeatist. Stacie urges us to have the courage and the perseverance to take our fate into our hands. So what do we have in hand already, that we can use to take pride in our field and project a confident image? To just name a few, we have the NAEYC code of ethics- for early educators, directors, and adult educators; Developmentally Appropriate Practice; Early Learning Standards in every state; QIRS; excellent credible research; many thought leaders shaping our field every day; and many practitioners in classrooms or child care homes doing very good and consistent work. We seem to be looking for some magical solution, still coming from the outside, that others will “one day see the light of our value and greatness- when we probably could be more intentional and ingenious in explaining ourselves with pride and confidence 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment. Through the years I continue to see our field divide itself between early childhood education and child care. We often don’t use the same language to describe ourselves or what we do. We still refer to teachers in elementary education as being different from teachers who make the choice to work in early education settings. I still see a need for us to first V come together and identify our commonalities if we plan to professionalize our field . There are many opportunities to do this but I find myself still defending and explaining why I dedicated my career to first being a teacher, practitioner and now being more involved in quality improvement/advocacy/public policy efforts to continue to educate everyone about the work that is essential to young children . This is very exciting time however we still have to work the ground level practitioners to learn to how valuable and powerful our profession really is.

  6. I appreciate this move to initiate and broaden this conversation. I do think it’s a bit unrealistic to shun those who do not have an immersive background in early childhood from participating in these processes. Like it or not, money has a lot to do with the ability of early childhood positions to appeal to potential employees, and the commitment of educators to stay planted and to continually invest time and money into professional education and advocacy. We do need to unify, and lead the conversation; we also need to continually invite stakeholders in if funding is to be addressed in a meaningful way. Of course, “policy changes must be independent from the uninformed.” But I see this being accomplished through partnership, advocacy and education, not through exclusion of people who are currently uninformed, but are in positions with political or economic power and can potentially help develop solutions.

  7. While I believe that I am providing an education to the infants in my care, I believe that my role is to secure their trust as an outsider from the family unit so that they are able to form attachments to future ECE providers and ultimately elementary educators as safe and reliable resources and role models outside of the home.

  8. I’ve spent more than 25 years working on the advocacy you are discussing here. I have worked in some of the poorest and richest areas of the country. I want to pose a different point of view for you to consider. Millions of children in their most vulnerable and formative years are out there being cared for by somebody, and I think we have a responsibility to work with any and all somebodies, from the bottom up instead of the top down. I LOVE high quality early care and education programs, but they are not the majority yet. The children who need the best early experiences are getting some of the least-supported and under-resourced care. If it were up to me, we would downplay the talk about professionalizing the field and get out there with every penny and every expert devoted to improving the neediest programs, communities and families. I believe that our unifying goal should be to support high quality early learning experiences for all children regardless of where they spend their days. Some children are at home with a family member. Some are in low-quality centers or brilliant preschools or average programs. Some are in wonderful family child care homes and some are strapped in seats all day in front of TVs. Children with disabilities are often rejected. Children whose families speak languages other than English don’t feel welcome. I don’t think we should try to homogenize the field. We will not serve all children if we just focus on making one kind of early experience better. We will absolutely fail if we keep focusing resources on making good programs better while leaving poor programs in poor neighborhoods serving poor families. I think that our efforts should be unified around supporting better early starts for all children and embracing the UN-unified diversity of our field. Experts and leaders need to do a little less meeting at fancy conferences and spend more time in communities getting to know what’s really happening and learning what families, children and early care/education providers really need. Home visitors for families, better coordination of grassroots supports that work in each community, and replacing one-shot workshops with more effective coaching and job-embedded professional development for caregivers and preschool teachers would be some good places to start. Then, whatever resources are left over could be devoted to holding early childhood education professors accountable for the quality of degree programs and holding administrators accountable for staying current in the field and knowing how to support their staff for DAP implementation. You can raise all the salaries of all the teachers, but if they attended a college that did not give them a good, up-to-date preparation or if they work for a boss who doesn’t understand DAP, what will happen? I can tell you one thing for sure: If we keep talking to each other in a closed, elitist loop about the exact same things we have been saying for at least the past 25 years, we will always get what we always got. My question is: with whom have you shared the views you wrote here that has never heard them before? We know what to do. We don’t need to convince each other. We need to turn our voices outward… and we need to do more listening. That’s my view.

    1. Thank you! Great comments. Thought provoking. Being a preschool teacher as well as an in home daycare provider I feel like your ideas of finding exciting fresh ways to uplift and educate and inform those who are in the ” trenches” is critical to ensuring children’s rights are being respected. I am not for big government coming in and unifying all childcare through politicians and policy makers as well as business putting money in with the expectation of earning profits, because our children’s welfare is possibly not a priority.

    2. Well said, Karen. I think friend and family caregivers are overlooked in this discussion. How do we build an inclusive conversation, especially with so many child care settings that are difficult to find and with which it is hard to connect? That should be a part of our thinking, planning, and advocating.

      1. I do agree and this is the focus of work being done while trying to develop a plan for UNIVERSAL PreK in my area. We must always bring everyone to table when making decisions that will impact children , families and the workforce .

    3. Karen, Magdalena and I would like to thank you your input. Fran’s description of your comment as eloquent is just that. We have been following you and your work for many years now and are appreciative of your view. You asked just the questions we all have been asking and for all these years. It will be interesting to see how the conversation continues as we follow Chapter discussions . We thank you again for writing what most of us have been thinking and saying for many years. Look forward to hearing more. Karen’s site: http://www.languagecastle.com/
      Thank you again. – Rosean Murphy and Magdalena Palencia

  9. Karen, thank you. Now we have a discussion. I’ve been working on the Flathead reservation the last seven years, and I think I understand your concerns. However, I think that developing a professional organization will help focus information, push college early childhood educators to improve, and utilize what we learn from listening to parents and each other. I strongly support home visiting programs, but it takes great training and mature personalities. Adults are suffering from ineffective social-emotional training. That leaves us with problems of inadequate critical thinking and defensiveness. Corporal punishment is still dominant, and I think that has all but done in the empathy we need if we are to solve issues of personal growth. I am interesting in your solutions for improving the effectiveness of early childhood education.

    1. Jack, I agree that we need to take note of the standards for professionalism adopted by the AMA, APA, and other professional standard-setting bodies. Defining professionalism is not new, it’s just something that has never been acted upon by our professional organizations. You indicated we need to form professional associations, but in fact, we have them. I have to ask why none of them have never taken this charge… Makes me wonder if the associations believe doing so will become divisive. We all know early educators don’t embrace conflict well. And, is there a fear of become elitist and culturally exclusive. That is a real possibility. It’s all a quandary we need to embrace and untangle. We need to seize the moment and ride the momentum to real change. This discussion is just one of the many in which I am involved right now. But, I feel as though we are trapped in a maze of mirrors! I guess out of confusion change emerges.

  10. One of the constraints in our field is resistance to change and resistance to standards. I believe it comes from fear. We can’t draw a line every time there are demands for changes and professional standards (let’s not confuse this conversation with standards for children). When we assert that we should not be held to standards, we undermine our desire to be respected as professionals. Imagine a country where doctors, lawyers, mental health providers, etc. didn’t have standards. Would you want to go to a doctor who was not certified? Why would you want your child to be in the care of teachers and administrators who were not somehow certified at specific levels associated with their level of responsibility?

    Then again, as Karen Nemeth so eloquently pointed out, we need to think about including care providers out of the comment network. How do we include them in the blanket of professionalism? What does it mean to be a professional in all of the various forms of early care and education?

    I want to direct you all to the recording of the webinar I hosted with Dr. Jacqueline Jones yesterday on this very topic. Take an hour to view the recording: http://bit.ly/1QZeKcg

    1. I love your comments about resistant to change out of fear . It’s like people want to stay stuck in a time warp. We don’t need standards or educational credentials if you work in specific settings because it’s not necessary in this field. This thinking amongst many of the providers who care for our children is an area that still needs to be addressed before moving forward. If you don’t view yourself or your work as professional it is hard to have others take our work seriously. The everyday on the ground child care worker had to be brought into this conversation.

    2. Fran, the webinar you shared was so insightful. Thank you so much. So many of the points you spoke of and shared in your comments are echoed by ECE professionals everywhere. In speaking to people in all areas of the profession, the feeling seems to be the same. The questions you raised are similar to what we experienced along the way as we promoted this book study. We will post your webinar with Dr. Jacqueline Jones on our pages as it will help to continue to spark the conversation Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. – Magdalena Palencia and Roseann Murphy

  11. Karen, that Washington Post article you linked us to is well written and thought through. It was a bit frightening. Our ECE troubles will just be depressing if we don’t find clear ways to make progress, and notice the good we are doing. I was all too aware of limitations in the Early Head Start and Head Start agency I worked in for seven years, but it was also clear that the enrolled children were doing better than they would have been doing without these programs. I don’t recall who asked the question, How do we fix the world?, but I liked the answer: one child at a time.

  12. After being an educator for over 13 years, I continue to be amazed by the following: When administrators attempt to create policy or decided “what’s best” for our children they fail to include the most important component-the people who are actually working directly with the students. This is the place where we can find the REAL answers. Such is not the case with Magdalena and Roseann. I have just completed my dissertation which focuses on trauma and its many layered effects on children.
    I find that we are commenting how there is no time to find out the well being (emotionally) of our children. There seems to be a focus on results and statistics as opposed to where our children are at developmentally. I applaud the energy of anyone who sees this as a problem and tries to “make a change.”

  13. Michael, I think that you have not seen Magdalena and Roseann correctly. Above, Magdalena states, “The professionalization of the early childhood education field depends greatly on how children are being taken into account.” If we are to pull this group of early childhood educators together, we will need to listen carefully to each other without judgmentalism. Of course, we all need to be aware of where the children are at developmentally, and the effects of poverty and other traumas. Thank you for reminding us of that.

  14. Thanks Jack. As I reread what I wrote, it appears that is what I was commenting about. To be clear, I wasn’t referencing Roseann or Magdalena. I have been part of many programs that have been initiated without consulting the actual people who were going to be in the “trenches.” I was remiss in leaving that part out.

    1. Dr. Swiatowiec, Your responses are a welcome addition to the discussion. Hopefully you will continue the book study and give us more insight into your work and the work you have done in the field. Thank you again for the comments! – Magdalena Palencia and Roseann Murphy-

  15. I’m disappointed in this dialogue. I expected a confrontation of diverse thoughts, what Stacie suggested are “difficult truths.” What are the problems we know we are facing? Early childhood professionals have other organizations; where are their voices? I’m new at this conversation, but I know that better organization will require a coming together by way of consensus, not by voting for positions. I know that defensiveness gets in the way of consensus, but what are some of the other difficult truths?

    1. Dear Jack, Your comments have been greatly appreciated. The dialogue on this subject is just beginning. You, my colleague, Magdalena and I as well as the rest of the professionals who commented are asking themselves the similar questions and have similar concerns. Since this is still an introduction to Chapter One, the meat of the book may not have come to surface as yet. This subject is decades old and hopefully, as we delve into the chapters we will come to some common ground with some concrete direction. We were drawn to Stacie Goffin’s books based on the questions asked throughout the chapters. Chapter 2’s workbook like question and answer format may bring more answers and ideas to the surface. Based on the scope and the size of the Early Childhood population our input is going to be crucial. Thank you again, – Roseann Murphy and Magdalena Palencia

  16. Lots of good comments above. I would like to find a way to get this message out by seeing free conferences for teachers in the inner cities that cannot affored to attendbconferences (not that a lot of people can on these salaries). They need to be supported and perhaps get out to visit schools that are developmentally appropriate so they have something withb which to compare their circumstances and ask questions about what could be done. So glad to see someone coming forward to defend what we already know is true, however parent education is also a must, as I believe many parents today do not understand enough about childhood. Many were robbed of the experience by being in poor centers when they were children. I know I learned a lot about empathy and how to parent from my own parents, but today’s parents didn’t have this advantage. Many attended a poor quality daycare themselves, and have become very insecure as parents. They do not know what is to be found in a good program as push downbacademics has become acceptable and even desirable from their prospective. A program donating these books to libraries might also help get the message out to many different groups with the need for this knowledge. Be sure your librarians are informed themselves, as they direct many people to what they are aware is available and desired by the public. Looking forward to the discussions on this board.

    1. some of the parents can’t read. It seems the parents who need the guidance of parenting like in ECFE classes, don’t attend. many are just trying to survive. I can hardly afford the conferences, I would love to be able to attend more. I agree many parents didn’t have role models from their own parents, and many children unfortunately attend poor daycares.

  17. Thank you to all our colleagues for taking the time to join the online book study. We understand the time it takes to read, formulate and comment on this important subject and our review. Your input is so valuable and we look forward to your comments during the continued book study. See you during Chapter 2 beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16, 2016. – Roseann Murphy and Magdalena Palencia –

  18. Two issues that cross my mind with this question are:
    1. Early Childhood Education is something everyone seems to think they can do… we align our practices with how we were treated as children, how our mothers, fathers, teachers, etc. treated us… and we turned out just fine, right? It’s a rare field that everyone already feels they should be considered skilled in… and we find it offensive to have our ways questioned. You don’t see this as much in the medical, legal, or other professional fields. We trust others… and in this field that seems to be a hard thing to do.
    2. Educators, particularly early childhood educators, seem to get stuck in a rut with practice. We find what we think works for us, and we stick with it… this would not be acceptable in any other field. A doctor can’t continue to perform heart surgery using antiquated methods… it’s unacceptable, but in ECE we allow it. We need to clarify what professional judgement is and how it’s best used… it does not mean I get to do whatever I want.

    Thanks :)!

  19. I agree with Lynn and Dawn. I have been a in home childcare provider for over 30 years now. Over the years I have taken a lot of training classes, when I see ECE in the title or description I assume I will learn something. And usually most of the time I do, but we need to have some guidelines also for those teaching others, some of the training seems more like a time to visit, no main program or agenda. Sometimes as Dawn stated above we were treated that way as children so it is ok now, this is not the type of training I want. I want to learn more and new ways to teach and support the children in our care. We need not only to do just education but need to help them how to develop socially, emotionally and physically. We want the children in our care to leave us ready for the world not afraid of it.
    Also I agree with Lynn, parents need more education, many parents are more worried about what they are learning (ABCs, numbers, colors, etc.), they are not even thinking about the social and developmental pieces, if they are even aware of them. I have done daily emails for several years now, I started out putting in some of what we did that day and how it helped the children’s development. After a few weeks most of my parents came to me and said we like the emails but they are to long we just need to know what and how they ate and slept today. So I had to cut out what we were doing and working on daily, now I only do the food, sleep and the 2 books we read that day and I do one weekly email telling parents what we will be working on next week and I know most of my parents don’t even open that one.
    Thank You for doing this book study. I look forward to more.

  20. I feel that there are so many different theories on how children should be learning. Every child learns differently in their own and at their own pace – it’s a tough job and a lot of people just think that we watch kids play or we play with kids which isn’t true. We, the caregivers are with children a lot, sometimes more than their own parents. It’s our job to ensure that they are learning right from wrong, learning things that they will need to know\ to survive every day.

  21. Wow, I loved reading all of the fantastic comments. I agree with several who already stated that one of the big obstacles and things we need to change to become a professional field is to be recognized as professionals! I have too often be referred to as little more than a glorified babysitter! I remember reading online about a few countries who do view ECE as a professional field and with that comes the requirement of higher education so that teachers are well trained and better prepared to handle the unexpectedness and chaos of young children. I am speaking as someone who did not go to school for ECE and more or less got into this area by luck. Almost on a daily basis, things will come up where I think, gosh I wish I knew more about this issue/behavior, etc instead of having to rely on my very small amount of experience or the experience of others.

  22. Professionalizing the “field” requires defining “the field”. Our “field” is vast, culturally, financially, racially diverse, without educational standards of practice and lacking consistent content checks and balances other than “licensing” for health and safety.

    We could move forward with a conversation with intent, defining our field, taking many different perspectives, experiences and practices into account. Meeting with others, outside of our personal “field” of expertise.

    Education is also critical in establishing standards for ECE. Education of teachers, education of parents, educating ourselves. Standards of education and creating accessible, cost efficient learning for ~all~Early Childhood Educators.

    As we move forward, I feel we need to be careful regarding DAP practices and by “Professionalizing” the field, we are not creating expectations that the education of young children be aligned with elementary education practices. Always keeping in mind the kind of kinesthetic, active, creative, play learning required by our little ones to be successful.

    I have many more questions than answers at this point, but look forward to reading more and gaining insight to how we can effect change in our field.

  23. I agree with Ms. Nemeth’s comments posted on February 11, 2016. I would also echo previous commentators with regard to their insight on ethics. I think we need to continue to look at mandatory training requirements for daycare providers.

  24. I have discussed being early childhood professionals over the years with my colleagues-at work and at conferences. I have noticed that there are two types of early childhood providers-those who see themselves as professionals and work at being professionals by extending their learning and so on, and those who see themselves as providing a service and not seeing the benefit of doing more for the field. When we talk about professionalizing our field, what do we do about those who see themselves as providing a service? What impact will they have on our field? This group wants more money and respect, but they don’t see any need to do more than they already do. One early childhood professional I asked about this said that we don’t want people like that in the field, but as I see it, they are here and we do need them. Has this question ever been addressed? I’m curious. Some of these providers are great with children. I don’t think it would help anyone to push them out of the field. How do we include them in work to professionalize early childhood?

    1. Catherine, many programs are already shorthanded. I don’t think we can push people out if they will follow some basic rules, but we need to train, train, train. Child development is a dynamic field in this century. Even the old-pros need constant training. Most of us grow up with healthy early childhood issue not well trained. That has led to our conflicts. Regular training needs to be a search for truth while challenging our beliefs. We used to hit children, but most of us have learned not to do that. Now we need to learn not to be disappointed in children’s behaviors, as that punishes them, while still teaching them how to be responsible.

  25. I am new in this field but even as a parent it is evident of the need to standardize what skills are needed for kindergarten. It saddens me when we look at the skill differences in the children of different incomes. After doing some research I have found lists of what skills are needed for children starting kindergarten but the emotional skills that children need are a little bit harder to measure. I am not sure how they plan to measure this nor to I have any good advice how to. I do know that different children mature at different ages and depending on their maturity level it is easier to teach them and hold their attention. I believe that the first step in standardizing education is to start with standardizing the education for the teachers. Also, changing how we prioritize our children’s education and teaching the general public the value of it.

  26. CHILDREN ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD AND THEY DESERVE SO MUCH RECOGNITION IN LIFE.

    CHILDREN HAVE A MUCH MORE BRIGHTER FUTURE THAN WHAT SOME PARENTS HAVE TO OFFER THEM.IT’S GOOD TO DO YOUR BEST AND BLESS YOUR CHILDREN IN GOOD WAYS.

    BE GOOD TO YOUR FAMILY AND LOVE THEM ALL THAT YOU CAN!

    ALL CHILDREN NEED IS LOVE FROM THEIR PARENTS TO FULLY FUNCTION IN THIS WORLD!

    ALL OF OUR CHILDREN NEED US.

    IT’S NOT FUN BEING AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY!

    THIS IS HOW YOUR CHILDREN FEEL TOO .

    CHILDREN MISS AND LOVE THEIR PARENTS TOO!❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  27. There are so many variables in programs that professionalizing and unifying early education as a field it’s daunting to think about where to even start. There are several things that spring to mind right away (keeping in mind I am thinking from the perspective of working in an early learning center, not a home based one)
    1. The disparity between the required education of teachers, the salary they can earn and the fees for the program. We have such a narrow margin between the tuition we ask of our enrolled families and the financial stability we can offer our staff. If, as a field we require different levels of education, which of course is needed, we should be able to offer competitive salaries. Many people are turned off by the amount of money they will spend on their education when they compare it to the expected salary.
    2. The quality of continuing education. Often when staff are searching for their continuing education training opportunities they aren’t able to find meaningful options. Being able to access more trainings that are not “entry level” and vary in their topics would be extremely helpful, particularity for more seasoned teachers.
    3. Motivation of teachers in the field. There needs to be some mechanism for making sure we aren’t “coasting” in our practice, that is we are actively seeking new ideas to update what we are doing in our classrooms everyday. Although this falls more under the heading of personal responsibility and goes hand in hand with early ed teachers seeing themselves as professionals!
    4. Bringing together the different approaches to early education (home base, center based, etc.) under the same professional umbrella.
    Surely this list could go on and on!

  28. I feel being in the Early Childhood profession is a gift. It is not for everyone, so with that being said we are the eyes and ears of these little humans. We may be with some of these children more than their parents. Society needs to change. I am a play based learning program and I have had parents of 2 year olds that are upset with me that we do not do and send home paperwork and worksheets daily with the children. Just because we may play a majority of the day doesn’t mean we are not counting, singing, reading, repeating our colors, and or our alphabet, as we do this on a daily basis. Children need to be children and play. Playing is learning.

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