7 Jul

Second Chance Summer Book Study

The spring months always seem to be jam-packed. Perhaps you missed out on my spring book study for that very reason. It was focused on Stacie Goffin’s book Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era. “The conversations from this book are intended to shape the field’s future. Don’t sit back and listen; be part of this important conversation.” Here’s your second chance opportunity!

BeyondthePages.Goffin.2015[1]How are we going to think together in conversations with intent and unite as a field of practice, when we are spread across the nation engaged in varied areas of the workforce? I thought about this very question for nearly two years after I met Stacie. Beyond The Pages (BTP) was launched in August, 2015, as a vehicle to promote conversations with intent and inspire a passion for change. BTP is an innovative online book study. This online feature takes you ‘beyond the pages’ and creates group dialogue. What makes it unique? The group dialogue is prompted and informed by content experts who bring their voices to each week’s discussion.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Lilian Katz to discuss her thoughts on our profession’s future. She said that “we need to come to an agreement on the body of principles…to sit down and agree on principles of practice for early childhood educators.” I told her about BTP and waited for her response. “I’d say the blog book study is worth trying…to develop more insight and interaction between practitioners. You see, when practitioners come together and exchange information, they deepen their insight, understanding, and awareness of complexities in the field.” I whole-heartedly agree Dr. Katz!

Together, we can help ECE realize its potential! It is with that in mind that I invite YOU to participate in my Beyond The Pages blog book study. Since the live study is over, you can complete it at your own pace, in the comfort of your home! Visit the following link to learn more about this fantastic way to get involved. http://goo.gl/m3u5qo

This is an approved course through the MN Center for Professional Development! This course applies towards the Core Competency Area of VIII. Professional Development and the CDA Content Area of Maintaining Professionalism.

It is my genuine hope that this book study feature intrigues individuals, serves as inexpensive professional development, provides access to resources otherwise not attainable, and encourages meaningful conversations. Learn. Love. Lead.

Click HERE to get started!

-Dawn


23 Mar

Beyond The Pages ECE Book Study: Chapter 4 (Week 8)

By Susan Zoll

Susan Zoll

Welcome to the final week of study and conversation on Professionalizing Early Childhood Education as a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next Era by Stacie G. Goffin. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn from each of you over the past eight weeks and I look forward to future opportunities Dawn will create, providing intentional space for our beloved early childhood community.

From your responses it’s clear you own your professional responsibilities towards children, their families, and your colleagues. So many of you serve in multiple roles: educators, mentors, coaches, administrators, instructors in higher education – in addition to nurturing your own families!

Professionalism in early childhood education exists and you’ve given voice to current issues and policies that impact your work: compensation, credentials, organizational climate, standards, a “disparity crisis” in learning opportunities for children…and the list goes on.

Take a few moments and look through the comments and the wealth of shared information provided by members of this virtual community. Which topic resonates for you, feels personal, stirs up something you can stand behind? If after this book study your goal is to be an active policy agent, rather than a passive policy target (Heineke 2015) you’ll need just one topic to begin your intentional conversation in a way that feels authentic and comfortable to you.

Last week, Betsy Carlin highlighted key aspects of an intentional dialogue focusing on the role of the “facilitator.” Chapter 4 also reminds us, we must consider the environment where our conversations will take place. As early childhood educators, this is imagery we understand. Just as we ready our classroom environments to meet the needs of children each day, we must think about the welcoming and respectful settings we create to begin our early childhood dialogues.

If your objective is to invite others into your classroom or school to host an intentional conversation regarding early childhood education, does your environment make visible your belief about the importance of young children? Stacy suggests, “pictures of children propped on easels or taped to a wall remind us that these conversations are about something larger than our individual roles or ambitions” (p. 66).  Or perhaps you prefer more personal settings and plan to begin an intentional conversation when you’re visiting a family in their home. Ultimately, your goal is to be inclusive; and whether hosting a group or only one other individual, we must come together to exchange in a spirit of mutual learning and exploration.

Earlier this month, NAEYC created such an inclusive environment for early childhood educators. The 2016 Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC provided participants with the opportunity to expand their understanding of federal policy and it’s impact locally. Truthfully, this was a new area for me and I felt a bit out of my comfort zone. But NAEYC had created a safe environment for it’s AEYC affiliates and we had the opportunity to meet our local delegates (R.I. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse).

Challenging, but productive conversations were had and I believe our field moved a little bit forward on the professional continuum – I know I did! Professionalism at the individual-level always falls along a continuum, with no visible endpoint. So, maybe it stands to reason that professionalism for the early childhood field is also about continuous improvement, always moving forward together.

So how will you help to move the field forward? Remember, to begin you need just one topic that you’re passionate about. For this week’s response, please share your topic and your plans for initiating the dialogue. Will you invite a small group or will you speak to a co-worker or a family member? And how will you prepare the setting for this conversation? How will you ensure a trusting and welcoming environment?

I’ll continue to monitor your responses and look forward to our collective conversation.

P.S.  If you’d like to research additional early childhood policy topics, NAEYC provides relevant policy and action resources you can review.

Reference:
Heineke, A.J., Ryan, A.M., Tocci, C. (2015). Teaching, learning, and leading: Preparing teachers as educational policy actors. Journal of Teacher Education, v 66(4), 382-394.

Susan Zoll, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education
Director, Institute for Early Childhood Teaching and Learning
Rhode Island College
Email: szoll@ric.edu
Twitter
Facebook

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

Book Study Timeline!
(click on chapter or name below to access that content)

This book study is sponsored by Redleaf Press

BeyondthePages.Goffin.2015[1]

 


23 Feb

Beyond The Pages ECE Book Study: Chapter 2 (Week 4)

By Gayle Stuber

Gayle StuberStart with yourself—and consider what you want for the system in which you work.

What would you keep? What would you change in this system?

Field of Practice: the purpose of the field in question revolves around performance of a specialized and shared competence.  A ‘field’ is an invisible world filled with mediums of connections: an invisible structure that connects.

I have read and re-read both Chapter 1 and 2 to get started on this discussion—or, to use the author’s words, dialogue.  Chapter 2 is truly a way to begin the reflection needed—in a collective manner!—first individually and then, Read More


18 Dec

Divided and Fragmented…Change on the Horizon?

Many in the early childhood field would agree that the momentum surrounding early childhood education throughout the country seems to be building in our favor. On local and national levels, in the media and the government, with educators and politicians, early care and learning is in the news. This is exciting, but I’m torn because although the polls are showing that a majority of Americans believe in the importance of early education and care, I wonder if change is actually on the horizon.

We in early learning and development have known for years, backed by science, that the early years are critical. We also know through research findings that professional learning is a key component in consistent high quality care. Many in the field have been shouting these facts for years! In fact, I’d argue that although our field has made recent strides forward, historically we’ve been moving at a snail’s pace. We need a sense of urgency – now is the time for a monumental push (and perhaps a shove!) Stacie Goffin is calling on us, within the field, to develop a “collective will or a shared passion for creating an alternative future” for tomorrow’s children. (Dahlin)

Did you notice that different early childhood terms were used in the first two paragraphs? Early childhood education, early care and learning, early education and care, early learning and development… why are there so many? Do they refer to the same thing? Why is it that in nearly every state there are various early childhood systems working individually, disconnected from others doing similar work. I’ve always questioned these “silos” that seem to be deep-rooted within our field. Why reinvent the wheel ourselves when we can tap into our field’s greatest asset…each other!

Last spring, the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences released the Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 report calling for the transformation of the early childhood workforce.

“Persisting with the status quo for the professionals who do this important, complex work will perpetuate today’s fragmented approach to the care and education of young children, resulting in inadequate learning and development, especially among America’s most vulnerable families and communities. The report offers recommendations to build a workforce that is unified by the foundation of the science of child development and early learning and the shared knowledge and competencies that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8.” (Institute of Medicine)

“This is a defining moment for ECE. 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. 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.” (Goffin)

How are we going to think together in conversations with intent and unite as a field of practice, when we are spread across the nation engaged in varied areas of the workforce? I thought about this very question for nearly two years after I met Stacie. Beyond The Pages (BTP) was launched in August, 2015, as a vehicle to promote conversations with intent and inspire a passion for change. BTP is an innovative online book study. This online feature takes you ‘beyond the pages’ and creates group dialogue. What makes it unique? The group dialogue is prompted and informed by content experts who bring their voices to each week’s discussion.

I had the opportunity recently to sit down with Dr. Lilian Katz to discuss her thoughts on our profession’s future. She said that “we need to come to an agreement on the body of principles…to sit down and agree on principles of practice​ for early childhood educators​.” I told her about BTP and waited for her response. “I’d say the blog book study is worth trying…to develop more insight and interaction between practitioners. You see, when practitioners come together and exchange information, they deepen their insight, understanding, and awareness of complexities in the field.” I whole-heartedly agree Dr. Katz!

Together, we can help ECE realize its potential! It is with that in mind that I invite YOU to participate in the next Beyond The Pages blog book study, beginning Feb. 1st, 2016. This study will center around Stacie Goffin’s book Professionalizing Early Childhood Education As a Field of Practice: A Guide to the Next EraVisit the following link to learn more about this fantastic way to get involved. http://goo.gl/m3u5qo It is my genuine hope that this book study feature intrigues individuals, serves as inexpensive professional development, provides access to resources otherwise not attainable, and encourages meaningful conversations. Learn. Love. Lead.

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

BeyondthePages.Goffin.2015[1]

Braa, Dawn M., MAEd., and Stacie G. Goffin, Ed.D. “Beyond The Pages Book Study Frequently Asked Questions.” Enhancing Young Minds. Dawn Braa, 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <https://enhancingyoungminds.com/2015/12/beyond-the-pages-book-study-goffin-frequently-asked-questions/>.

Dahlin, Melissa, MA. “2015 Roundtable: Leading for Excellence – Summary.” CENTER ON ENHANCING EARLY LEARNING OUTCOMES(n.d.): n. pag. 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 2015. <http://ceelo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ceelo_roundtable_2015_summary_final_web.pdf>.

“Institute of Medicine.” Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Packard Foundation, McCormick Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Department of Education, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA), Administration for Children and Families , HHS, 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2015. <http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2015/Birth-To-Eight.aspx>.


7 Dec

Beyond the Pages: Next Book Study Choice!

Stacie_library-web

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!

——————————————————————-

“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.

————————————————————————–

*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)!