7 Dec

Beyond the Pages: Next Book Study Choice!

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Stacie Goffin is the Principal of the Goffin Strategy Group. Established in 2004, the Goffin Strategy Group dedicates itself to building early childhood education’s ability to offer effective programs and services to young children through leadership, capacity, and systems development. Stacie works with local and state non-profits, philanthropy, governments, and national organizations. A widely published author, Stacie’s conceptual leadership focuses on advancing early childhood education as a professional field of practice.

Prior to forming the Goffin Strategy Group, Stacie led the five-year effort to reinvent the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s [NAEYC] early childhood program accreditation system. This effort resulted in a newly designed delivery system, updated accreditation criteria, and first-ever national program standards for early childhood education programs serving children from birth through kindergarten.

A former senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, professor in higher education, and preschool educator, Stacie served as the founding chair of multiple organizations, including the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, Kansas City’s Metropolitan Council on Early Learning, and the West Virginia Network for Young Children.

Stacie is an author of several seminal publications, including Ready or Not: Leadership Choices in Early Care and Education (with Valora Washington); Early Childhood Education for a New Era: Leading for Our Profession; and the recently released Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era. Both her writing and presentations have earned her a well-respected reputation as an agent for change.

You can learn more about Stacie Goffin online by visiting her webpage. Stacie will be closing our What If Everybody Understood Child Development? book study and announcing our next study book choice on Dec. 7th. (Just learning about my book study? Access the fall book study HERE**IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS STUDY: Please complete this short survey! http://goo.gl/forms/WBU0YPYdAT Thank you!

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“You’ve spent the last several months reading and thinking about Rae Pica’s book, What If Everybody Understood Child Development? And now you’re about to read its concluding blog.

Rae’s book topic is an important one. Few early educators question the importance of child development knowledge as fundamental to meaningful and impactful interactions with young children. Being literal in the extreme, though, what if, in fact, everybody understood child development and its importance in furthering children’s early learning and development? If this were the case, what is now central to early childhood education’s (ECE) occupational expertise would be commonplace, minimizing the societal contribution of ECE’s specialized knowledge and undermining its stature as an occupation that makes a difference in children’s lives.

The sentences above are unlikely to materialize, but here’s why they still merit our consideration.

book imageWithout an arguably unique societal contribution, ECE cannot be formally identified as a professional field of practice. Without a defining purpose that distinguishes our knowledge and skills from commonly held information or from the contributions of other fields of practice, ECE cannot claim public recognition as a profession. When considered in this way, Rae’s book title offers the perfect segue to our next blog book study of Professionalizing Early Childhood Education As a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era.

Let’s return to the question of ECE’s unique contribution to children’s early learning and development. How would you answer these questions: What do you think distinguishes ECE’s knowledge base and practice from other child-serving professions interacting with the same age children? What commonalities bind us together as a field of practice, regardless of a program’s sector, policy mandate, or financing? Then consider this: What is the identifying name for our field of practice: early childhood education? Early care and education? Early education and care? Early learning and development? I know from experience that this list is not inclusive. Why do we lack a shared identifier for our field? Why do we continue to invent new terminology to describe who we are and what we do?

The next blog book study asks these and many other questions to probe our thinking about our identity as a field of practice and the future we want for ECE. Be forewarned, these questions are not easy to answer. They push us to critically consider our fragmented state and the divergences that exist between our aspirations for ECE as a field of practice and the field’s current status. They push us to question ECE’s current trajectory as a field of practice and what we can do about it.

A Defining Moment in Time

This is a defining moment for ECE. Few of us familiar with ECE are unaware of its struggle to fulfill its ambitions as a field of practice. Even though the ECE field is receiving increased recognition of its importance and is experiencing significant growth in policy support and funding, it continues to be characterized by a fragmented delivery system, reliance on an underdeveloped workforce, and uneven public respect. Despite the best of intentions, we remain a divided field of practice and lack what it takes to ensure that each and every child with whom we interact as early educators experiences an optimum early learning experience.

Further, this reality is unlikely to change unless the ECE field comes to terms with its lack of organization as a unified field of practice with defined expectations and accountabilities for a competent and responsible workforce.

Advancing ECE as a Professional Field of Practice

A budding movement is emerging in response to this crisis of fragmentation—a drive to organize ECE as a professional field of practice united by a shared overarching purpose, defining body of knowledge and practice, common professional identity, and accountability to one another, as well as to children and families.

Because of the nature of ECE’s work, few would question that it ought to be a profession and be recognized as such. Yet to qualify as a recognized profession, ECE will have to have attributes that define professional occupations—criteria such as a prescribed scope of work as a field of practice and formal preparation as a prerequisite to being licensed to practice.

This will require us to move beyond ECE’s history of willingly accepting people into the “profession” with varying education levels, credentials, and competencies, and ensuring that early educators are prepared to facilitate children’s learning and development prior to interacting with them and their families in formal early learning settings.

These are not trivial shifts in thinking. Advancing ECE as a recognized professional field of practice requires us to move beyond changes targeting incremental program improvements and instead engaging in the demanding but energizing work of transforming ECE as a field of practice.

The time has come for envisioning ECE as a recognized profession and determining how this will be achieved. The time has come for us to step forward, take charge of change, and confront the choices that becoming a professional field of practice will demand of us.

Many other fields of practice have confronted similar turning points: medicine, physical and occupational therapy, nursing, and architecture, to name a few. We can learn from their journeys. We can unify ECE as a field of practice, increase our individual and collective competence, and promote greater consistency in what children learn and are capable of doing across early learning settings.

Although professions vary in how they’re organized, they share the commonalities that are the hallmark of professional fields of practice. The work ahead, by definition, will be dynamic and emergent. This means it won’t be possible to devise an all-inclusive action blueprint in advance of starting ECE’s journey. Nor will a viable approach likely emerge in response to someone driving a predetermined change agenda. Rather, the work has to be driven by our shared vision for the field’s future, the choices we make regarding ECE’s defining purpose and character, and an openness to learning while we’re in the midst of change.

There is a starting place for the work, though — conversations with intent. These are conversations that engage us in personal and collective reflections that invite thinking together about creating an alternative future for ECE as a field of practice. Catalyzing these conversations is the focus of Professionalizing Early Childhood Education As a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era. As Robert Fritz underscores for us, “We have been trained to think of situations that are inadequate to our aspirations as problems. When we think of them as problems, you are taking action to have something go away: the problem. When you are creating, you are taking action to have something come into being: the creation.”[1]

By focusing on the future we want to create for ECE as a professional field of practice, we have the shared opportunity to help ECE realize its potential. Fulfilling this aspiration depends on each of us — individually and collectively — to become engaged with redirecting ECE’s trajectory. Your engagement in the next book blog study will begin your personal journey in this direction.”

Stacie Goffin
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/goffinstrategygroup/about-us
Copyright: Goffin Strategy Group, LLC, 2015

[1] R. Fritz. (1989). Path of least resistance: Learning to become the creating force in your own life. New York: Fawcett Columbine, p. 11, italics in original.

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*More details to come soon regarding the book study…including a book GIVEAWAY! Stay tuned. The next BTP book study will be hosted on this blog. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE (at the top of this page)!


4 Dec

New Feature? Seeking Your Input.

Although I enjoy sharing resources through this blog, I also enjoy connecting with people. (I really do!) With that in mind, I’m considering starting a new feature where I specifically seek input from visitors. This would be a place where we as a community could share ideas, photos, best practices, tips, etc. I’d love to hear from YOU! If there’s enough interest, I’ll do it. It’s that simple 🙂

opinion for new featureHere’s the first question:
Title of this new feature… “Ask All” or “Your Turn” Which one??

Let me know your preference by commenting your choice below. I can’t wait to see what ya’ll choose!


3 Dec

TBT: Children and Cell Phones

This cell phone post is a throw-back of mine from 2008 on this blog

As I was driving home from work last night, I noticed (as I’m sure you have too) that a high percentage of people were (or seem to be) on their cell phones. Today I stopped into Subway, and again noticed some people on their phones. A few weeks ago, I walked through the park and yes, you guessed, people on their cells. Mobile phones are great and I too, fall victim to almost being dependent on it.53817

The question arises “How did we operate without cell phones?” I didn’t have a cell phone until nearly college. However, it’s the norm now and almost a ‘need’ to have one (and people are getting them younger and younger)… so I’d like to direct this post to you.69f63

At what age do you think it’s safe, healthy, and necessary to give a child a cell phone, if at all? Should infants and toddlers be using cell phones? Once the child has passed through early childhood and is a school-ager, is that a good time to introduce a cell phone?38d94

Should cell phones be given to middle school-agers? Can they handle that responsibility? What are the pros and cons of each age group? Why should a child have a cell phone? Why shouldn’t they? Are there any dangers/potentially harmful effects?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below.

 


3 Dec

Congratulations! First Book Study Finisher!

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Jennifer from MN is the first to have completed my first Beyond The Pages blog book study for training hours. She participated in all 14 discussions – way to go!

Jennifer says of the study, “I enjoyed the wide variety of topics covered and thought all the guest bloggers brought helpful insights.  I can’t wait to hear what we will read this spring!”

Thank you for your participation Jennifer! It was lovely to have you as a participant.

*If YOU missed the fall study, don’t worry! Since it’s online, you can participate at any time 🙂 Simply visit my college program blog where it’s hosted. Decide on a pace that works for you. Get Rae Pica’s book, read it according to the timeline (not necessarily in order), and read the correlating guest expert commentaries (click on chapter links) and comments for more insights and resources. Be sure to comment on the blog – share your thoughts and stories – be heard!

The announcement for the next book study will be coming next week…stay tuned!


2 Dec

Bam! Radio: Sensitivities Toward Holidays

How Are You Approaching the Sensitivities Toward Holidays in the Classroom?

picRae Pica with Amanda Morgan, Giselle Lundy-Ponce, Nancy Flanagan

The holidays can bring both great memories and controversy to your classroom. Our guests share their advice on making the most of the season. TUNE IN HERE!

Follow: @bamradionetwork @raepica1 @LundyPonce @NotJustCute @NancyFlanagan 

#edchat #edreform #ece #earlyed #AskingWhatIf

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30 Nov

Mondays with M.E.: POSITIVE BODY IMAGE

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HELPING YOUR CHILD MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY AND POSITIVE BODY IMAGE: A CONVERSATION WITH UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA RESEARCHER KATIE LOTH

Loth,Katie_hsWherever we and our children look, we confront ads for the latest ways to get “the perfect body” along with air-brushed images of celebrities with unattainable bodies. How do those messages influence your child’s eating behavior and body image? Even more important, what can you do to counteract those unhelpful influences and support your son or daughter in maintaining a strong healthy body and feeling good about his or her body image? Dr. Katie Loth, from the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, joins Marti & Erin to discuss some recent research findings that might surprise you. And she offers practical tips that will help you be more reflective about the subtle ways you shape your child’s attitude, behavior and self-acceptance. TUNE IN HERE 

How do Katie Loth’s research findings about body image and weight gain compare to what people often think about how to encourage weight loss or prevent weight gain in girls and young women? Why do you think the pattern was different for boys and girls? Reflecting on your own words and actions, in what ways could you improve the way you support healthy behavior and body image? Leave a comment below!

To read the research findings, click here.
To read an editorial about the research findings, click here.
To read an article about the research findings, click here.
For Project EAT, click here.
For Marti’s suggestions on promoting a healthy body image, click here.

MomEnoughpic-300x224This post was created by Mom Enough and used with permission

29 Nov

Learned Gratitude

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As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we would do well to think about how to make each day one of thanksgiving. In the midst of our busy lives – and especially in a culture that often leads our kids to say, “Give me, give me!” – how can we instill in our children a spirit of gratitude for all things, large and small?

Here are the practical tips for raising thankful kids that Marti shared with KARE 11 News at 11‘s Diana Pierce:

1) Set an example of thankfulness
2) Establish a daily “thanksgiving ritual”
3) Avoid over-indulging your children
4) Engage your children in contributing, in the family and beyond

View the VIDEO here. To read more about making Thanksgiving an everyday way of being, click here.

MomEnoughpic-300x224This post was created by Mom Enough and used with permission

27 Nov

Welcome to My Enhancing Young Minds Site!

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This site is dedicated to supporting early childhood educators and parents in enhancing young minds. You’ll find good articles and neat features like early childhood guest speakers, Adventures in Eating, MomEnough programs, Bam!Radio programs, and my newest feature- blog book studies! Spread the word- please share this site with your social networks.

I’d love to stay connected! Subscribe (in the upper right-hand column) to receive an Enhancing Young Minds weekly newsletter. Just enter your name and email address. I’d also like to invite you to join my Facebook Ideas & Resources Community!