18 Feb

Beyond The Pages ECE Book Study: Chapter 2 Continued (Week 3)

By Jill Bella

Jill Bella ECE book study

Well, as promised, I am checking in and taking the book group in a slightly different direction. You’ve raised concerns and offered insights into both professionalizing ECE as a field of practice and not doing so. You’ve highlighted the disparity among wages between early care and education teachers and state licensed teachers. There have been various suggestions for how to go about professionalizing the field—from credentialing to using assessment tools that measure teaching practices. Some of you have challenged us to take this conversation outward. So I am asking you now to first reflect on your own activity related to your opinion on professionalizing ECE as a field of practice.

Close your eyes and take a moment to think about what actions you have taken so far to move this conversation along. Have you taken action in the past (before this book group)? If you were to list your actions, how many would you have written down? 1? 3? 12? What does that information tell you about yourself and your level of commitment? If you haven’t taken much action, reflect on the reasons why this might be the case. If you wish you would have taken more action, reflect on what supports you need to do so in the future.

Has this conversation spurred you to speak out recently or demonstrate your commitment to your beliefs?

And, finally, how are you willing to advocate your position?

What steps or actions are you willing to take to advocate for your position on this issue?

  • I will talk to family members and/or friends about this issue.
  • I will talk to my colleagues at work about this issue.
  • I will seek out ECE practitioners I don’t know to discuss this issue.
  • I will talk to people outside of the field about this issue.
  • I will share resources about this issue with my colleagues.
  • I will talk to the parents in my program about this issue.
  • I will attend a meeting or a training related to this issue.
  • I will facilitate a meeting or given a presentation related to this issue.
  • I will give someone a copy of Stacie’s book and follow-up with a conversation.
  • I will use social media to build awareness about this issue.
  • I will attend a legislative hearing related to this issue.
  • I will join an organization that is concerned about this issue.
  • I will subscribe to a newsletter or follow the activities of an organization concerned about this issue.
  • I will write about this issue in my program’s newsletter.
  • I will write a letter or an e-mail to a legislator or policymaker about this issue.
  • I will call a legislator about this issue.
  • I will meet with legislator about this issue.
  • I will write a letter to the editor of a newspaper about this issue.
  • I will write a blog about this issue.
  • I will publish an article about this issue in a newspaper or magazine.

Please share your reflections with the group in the comments (reply below).

-Jill
Director, Quality Supports and Assistant Professor
(800) 443-5522, Ext. 5059
jill.bella@nl.edu
@JillMBella

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

This book study is sponsored by Redleaf Press

4519D5BF-89B4-4342-915F-2541C6A48A5A[23]

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24 thoughts on “Beyond The Pages ECE Book Study: Chapter 2 Continued (Week 3)

  1. Jill, just this morning I read the protests in Missoula, Montana, by childcare providers regarding a proposed new regulation regarding class sizes for infants and preschoolers in licensed childcare facilities. I responded to the government defender as follows: “Sarah Adams: I just read the complaints in Missoula about the new regulations regarding size of groups in early childcare. I’m here to support you. I think you may need some support. I was shocked to see the size of groups. When infants needs so much touch and gaze. I strongly support the new regulations no matter how troublesome they may be to providers. We have to work this issue through.” The providers were saying that they would go out of business if they followed the new regulations. They claim to have waiting lists a year long. Parents with two children are already paying more than their mortgages cost for childcare. There is something very wrong here. We need the government and the parents to take this problem (crime?) seriously. We cannot expect the world to get better without solving these early childcare issues. Obviously, I speak out, and I also make presentations for $500 that others charge thousands for. Jack

    1. Hi Jack,
      Thanks for sharing a timely example of advocating! I found your example interesting because it demonstrated your support for what is considered best practice for children and as well as reflecting the impact on centers and families. It is a great illustration of how the entire system is effected by a new regulation. As we have more and more conversations about professionalizing early childhood education as a field of practice we need to be forward thinking about the implications for each system component to be better prepared.

  2. I have been in Florida facilitating at an FAEYC leadership event. I had a moment to quickly read the new post before I went the event dinner last night. During dinner I made sure we had a conversation about professionalizing the field, Stacie’s book and this book study at our table.

    1. That’s fantastic Betsy! I hope you sparked some interest in this topic among your dinner companions. Several years ago I did a research study on directors as advocates for early childhood workforce issues. “When asked to characterize their level of engagement as advocates for the workforce, only one-fifth of the sample identified themselves as being either an active or an outspoken and engaged advocate.” However, those “directors in the study who were considered exemplary advocates for workforce issues were more likely to have taken a course or received formal training in advocacy and to report they had been mentored in learning advocacy skills.” The directors who eventually became “exemplary” advocates described mentoring in various ways. Most surprisingly, the exemplary director advocates described “mentoring” in some cases as simply being invited to a meeting about workforce issues by a colleague or having a colleague initiate conversations about workforce issues. It was simple acts like that which led the directors to become more engaged in workforce issues and eventually become recognized as exemplary advocates. Who knows, your dinner conversation about the book group discussions may have given voice to some new advocates for the field…

  3. Tomorrow I am attending a local United Way Early Childhood Advocacy meetings that meets monthly to discuss early childhood issues and needs. We are working on building partnerships with our community during the Week of the Young Child. This annual event has grown a lot over the past five years! I have been invited to attend to offer thoughts on the profession’s needs; however, I currently work for the Department of Education, so I cannot advocate to legislators. When I can I do use the Department’s social media to post relevant, thought-provoking articles on best practices for young children.

  4. I recently changed jobs for some of these very reasons. Large ratios, big tuition prices, and in the end it was about the money. I am happy to say that my entire center has 25 children, low ratios, non profit-and open to community and is intergenerational. Everything a child needs to set them up for success!

  5. Deep appreciation for all of your comments and the book group conversation you have contributed to. As I stated earlier, your insights will be helpful to others as we continue the conversation about professionalizing early childhood education as a field of practice. Keep up the dialogue!

  6. I am working to balance policy and practice… they are not always at odds, but we’ve grown accustom to acting as if they are. I work to be a problem-solver who strives to understand the boundaries and expectations and then ensure best practice within those realms. I’m lucky to work for a program that often honors this vision… I’d really like to help teachers take a less resistant stance to change while making sure the change we ask for makes sense. 🙂

  7. So glad you brought up helping teachers. Sometimes they seem removed from the larger system and unaware of the impact they can have. Glad you work in a program that supports you!

  8. Hi Jill, I am doing my part by serving on the Commission for Universal Pre K in Philadelphia , PA. I was named to this Commission in June 2015 and we just delivered a draft proposal to our new Mayor and City Council . My involvement with this Commission is my attempt to see the field move towards a field of professional caregivers, providers, teachers and educators. Our draft focuses on using our existing QRS to ensure that all 3 and 4 year olds regardless of income receive a quality preschool experience. In order for that to happen significant funding needs to be available. To access the funding from businesses means we must ensure that qualified, trained and experienced practitioners are providing quality education. We are looking for investment in the future that require being a better educated workforce. This is an exciting time for me as I have always advocated to everyone that early childhood education is a profession and those working with young children need to act accordingly.

  9. As we strive to develop children as lifelong learners, we can assist them by becoming lifelong learners ourselves. In studying how we can best meet the developmental needs of children we can specifically target our own skill development. I have been specifically looking at growth opportunities for ECE. Online classes can provide a way to allow more people to participate by furthering your education while working. This can also provide an opportunity to interact with more people in various roles then we would normally have an opportunity to associate with.

  10. I appreciated Gayle’s encouragement to us in our own self reflection about ECE. I too attended college yet, I was the first in my family to do so. I decided having an Early Childhood degree and a license was important to me. Now as a Grandmother I see the challenges of those my age or older who did not earn a degree. They wonder what their future in ECE should be. I am grateful for those who encouraged and supported me to get a degree. I too feel those who can should pursue continuing education to the extent they are able. I believe in continuing education as a way to grow and challenge myself. Frankly, in our changing culture I feel passionately that children need us to be aware of their needs, to affirm, encourage, and educate them in an environment where they can excel in their physical, social, , and educational endeavors.

  11. It is hard as a in home daycare provider to get people to listen to you about anything. Many people have the impression we only do this so we don’t have to get a “real” job, let them do it for just one day (if they last that long).

    I have been telling all of the providers I come in contact with to check out this website. I have spoke at some government hearings and served on a daycare association board in the past. It is hard to present ideas as a in home childcare provider, people look at you as you are only concerned about yourself. I have sent letters and emails and will continue to do this. I also talk to as many providers I can before and after training sessions.

    I also put down when we evaluate trainings if I think it was not what I was there for. This has worked, they do listen.

  12. Thanks for sharing your ideas Cindy, and for sharing this book group with others! You bring up a valuable point about how negative impressions that others may have about providers can make the journey to improve the field more difficult. I am glad you continue to press ahead and be persistent.

  13. Being that I am a home childcare provider, most people think less of me and tend to almost feel bad for me in the choice that I’ve made so it can be a bit hard to discuss things with people other than fellow childcare providers. I tend to talk amongst other home childcare providers and I have reached out to state legislatives in terms of them wanting childcare providers who have helpers care for the children along with them. The state felt that those helpers should have to reside at the residence as well. Why? How does that benefit or not benefit the child?

  14. Being not trained and relatively new to this field, I am so grateful to everybody’s comments above that have not only been insightful but educational for me as well! I am lucky to have some very supportive parents at my center that fully admit that they appreciate what we do as ECE educators and that they couldn’t possibly last a day doing what we do. On the other end, I’ve had others who do look at us as little more than babysitters. So I try and correct that false assumption when I can. I guess I haven’t done much more than that because I still don’t know what my future will be in this field, but I hope to do more if not for myself, then for my colleagues! And it will be an investment, a hard one for some places to make but the end goal of better care and education of young kiddos will be worth it.

  15. I would not say I have taken much action to work to professionalize the field of ECE only because I have not been involved long in this field. If you wish you would have taken more action, reflect on what supports you need to do so in the future.

    Has this conversation spurred you to speak out recently or demonstrate your commitment to your beliefs?

    And, finally, how are you willing to advocate your position?

    What steps or actions are you willing to take to advocate for your position on this issue?

    I will talk to family members and/or friends about this issue.
    I will talk to my colleagues at work about this issue.
    I will seek out ECE practitioners I don’t know to discuss this issue.
    I will talk to people outside of the field about this issue.
    I will share resources about this issue with my colleagues.
    I will talk to the parents in my program about this issue.
    I will attend a meeting or a training related to this issue.
    I will facilitate a meeting or given a presentation related to this issue.
    I will give someone a copy of Stacie’s book and follow-up with a conversation.
    I will use social media to build awareness about this issue.
    I will attend a legislative hearing related to this issue.
    I will join an organization that is concerned about this issue.
    I will subscribe to a newsletter or follow the activities of an organization concerned about this issue.
    I will write about this issue in my program’s newsletter.
    I will write a letter or an e-mail to a legislator or policymaker about this issue.
    I will call a legislator about this issue.
    I will meet with legislator about this issue.
    I will write a letter to the editor of a newspaper about this issue.
    I will write a blog about this issue.
    I will publish an article about this issue in a newspaper or magazine.

  16. Whoops, that last post is a mistake. Please disregard.
    I would say I have not been very active only because I am new to this field. It would be helpful if I had other childcare providers locally that were discussing this topic.
    In terms of advocating for my position, I would be willing to:

    Meet with a legislator about the issue.
    Write a letter or an email to a legislator or policymaker about the issue.
    Call a legislator about the issue.
    I would also use social media to build awareness around the issue.

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