cstravato's Pre-k World

The life of a Teacher / Student / Mother

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Time Well Spent


My anti-bias journey is life long and will never truly be met or completed, through self-reflection I will continue to grow and change everyday (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).  As early childhood professionals, it is our job to ensure every child and family is visible in our program and that they feel welcome in our classroom and community (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010). “It is important that we don’t close children off with the walls of our assumptions. We should leave ourselves open to surprises (Laureate, 2011).” We must never forget children’s first experiences as members of classroom communities set the foundation for a lifetime a social behavior patterns is critical to success (Jiang & Jones, 2016).

These are the words of wisdom that will support my continued journey.


Thank you, to all my professors throughout this masters program that have inspired my to have the courage to look inward and the knowledge to change outwardly through my words and actions. Thank you, to all my colleagues that have supported and challenge me throughout this journey. I wish for your passion to grow and your dreams for children to come true. We have built a strong community of support throughout this program that I hope will continue as our journeys continue. I will leave my contact information and look forward to future collaborations.

Thank you,


We Did It!!!!!!!




Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young  

     children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Jiang, H. S., & Jones, S. Y. (2016). Practical Strategies for Minimizing Challenging

Behaviors in the Preschool Classroom. Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 44(3), 12-19

Laureate Education, Inc. (2011). Strategies for working with diverse

children: Thinking deeply about diversity and inequity. Baltimore, MD: Author


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Jobs/Roles in ECE community: Internationally

As I grow as and early childhood education advocate through my experiences, knowledge, and skills I will one day be ready to leave the local classroom and support early childhood education on a global level. I have explored and summarized three international organizations that inspire me to what to do more for children. These three organizations represent the types of work and roles I would like to take on in the world in the future.




The UNICEF work in 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of children. They have worked to improve the live of children and their families for seventy years. The UNICEF works with the United Nations and agencies to ensure children are on the global agenda, dedicated with research and practical solutions for children to uphold the rights of the child. They work to ensure equality for those who are discriminated against, peace, and security for children.

Employment opportunities

The UNICEF is looking for committed, creative professionals, who are passionate about making a lasting difference for children and are comfortable working in a challenging environment.

The UNICEF employment opportunities begin in Talent Groups across specific functional areas and professional levels. Once you have been accepted into a Talent Group your profile will be available to hiring offices worldwide.

UNICEF Talent Group Generic Vacancy

Education, p-5 opportunities

Chief of Education – will be accountable for the development, design, planning, implementation and management of the Education programme within a country programme.  S/he leads a group of professional and support staff to develop and manage the education programme in collaboration with other programmes and sectors and with government and key development partners.

 Regional Adviser Education – Develop policies, strategies, programmes and systems and is responsible for providing technical leadership, management advice, programme support and capacity building to country offices throughout the Region.

Skills and Experiences needed to fulfill the roles

  • An Advanced University Degree (Master’s or higher) in education, economics, psychology, sociology or other social science field is required.
  • A minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible relevant work experience at the national or international levels in programme planning, management, and/or research in Education.
  • For HQ Senior advisors and Regional advisors, proven ability to work effectively in an advisory capacity.
  • For Country Office (CO) and Regional Office (RO) based posts and where relevant, familiarity with emergency response, an asset.
  • Experience in providing technical leadership in any of the following areas is an asset: Early Childhood Education and School Readiness;  Equitable Access;  Quality of education and child-friendly schooling; Innovations in education; Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transitions; Girls’ Education and Gender Equality; Data, monitoring and evaluation;  Partnerships
  • Demonstrative capacity to identify and monitor gender disparities in education, as well as develop and implement gender mainstreaming in programme policy and management.
  • Experience working in the UN or other international organization, an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required.  Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset.

Technical expertise must be demonstrated in the following areas:

  • In-depth understanding of the overall global development context, including issues such as: poverty, conflict and the impact of these factors on education and vice-versa; and inter-sectoral approaches to address such issues in collaboration with other sectors (including Social Policy, Child Protection, Nutrition, WASH, Health and Communications within UNICEF).
  • Extensive knowledge of global developments in education and international engagement strategies, including the application of the equity lens and human rights perspectives to programming.
  • Strong ability to undertake policy dialogue: translation of analytical findings and evidence into development programmes and policy discussions around equity and learning with partners, including government, development partners, CSOs and academia in relevant areas.
  • Strong education sector planning knowledge/ability, including the range of modalities for delivering education, linkages between different sub-sectors (e.g. ECD, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Inclusive Education), cost-effectiveness and efficiency issues, key institutional structures, components and processes, as well as governance issues.
  • Strong education policy and sector analysis capacity, including understanding of the core education data sets, indicators, tools for analysis of equity, determinants of student access and learning, budget, cost and financing, education system management, political economy and the ability to apply those to education policy and strategic planning.
  • Rigorous programme management in education, including programme design, costing, monitoring and evaluation (including areas like classroom assessment, standardized learning assessment, examinations, impact evaluation) and reporting.
  • Strong ability to engage with partners (e.g. Sector Wide Approaches, Global Partnership for Education, Education in Emergency Clusters, Education Provider Forums, Delivering as One, Inter-sectoral partnerships such as in ECD), as well as networking with other key partners.
  • Strong understanding of gender and inequity issues in relation to education and development and the application of gender / equity analysis to policy and planning in education.
  • Good understanding of policies and strategies to address issues related to resilience for CO and RO based post and where relevant: risk analysis and risk management, education in conflict situations, natural disasters, and recovery.


Association for Childhood Education International


ACEI is an international organization driven by the belief that education is essential to human development. They are committed to advancing education as a tool for global development and sustainable futures for all. ACEI began in 1892 promoting kindergarten education in the U.S. and internationally.   They have broaden their focus to birth-18 improving early childhood education and development.

Employment opportunities:

I was not able to find any employment opportunities at this time for this international organization. There are opportunities to share your knowledge and experiences through:

Childhood Explorer online publication. This is an opportunity for individuals passionate about experience of childhood from around the world to write and submit 1-3 page articles in the format of narratives, interviews, fiction/poetry, or photo essays. Topic relate to the daily lives of children or a child from around the world. For details and submissions contact editorial@acei.org

Childhood Education Innovations magazine. This is an opportunity for individuals passionate about sharing information related to innovative modes, programs, funding approaches, practices, policies, and research explored and implemented to improve education for children around the world to write and submit articles following the guidelines below and submit to Anne Bauer at abauer@acei.org

Submission Guidelines:

  • Language: Manuscripts should be in the English language.
  • Form and Length: Preferred length is 1,400-3,500 words, double-spaced. Articles may be submitted electronically (submitted to abauer@acei.org). Before publication, authors will be asked to submit a Copyright Transfer Agreement.
  • Review: Unsolicited manuscripts are anonymously reviewed and the final decision rests with the Editor, who is guided by the reviewers’ comments and such considerations as space, timeliness, and projected plans. The review process takes about 3 months. The Editor cannot consider proposals or outlines. Send completed manuscripts only.
  • Acceptance: Camera-ready diagrams, tables, or figures are often desirable. Photographs are encouraged (with complete captions and credit lines; digital files should be 300 dpi). Authors are asked to obtain model releases for photographs.
  • Publication: Accepted manuscripts will be published according to timeliness of subject matter, space availability, and projected schedule. All manuscripts are edited to conform to the publication’s editorial standards and space requirements. Prior to publication, authors are furnished with galley proofs.
  • Remuneration: Authors receive no remuneration. Articles and illustrations are considered a contribution to the profession.


National Association of Early Childhood Educators (NAECTE)


This organization is dedicated to the professional growth of their members through: discussions about educational issues, advocacy for improvements in early childhood teacher education, a forum to bring out issues and concerns of educators, providing a communication network for educators, facilitating the interchange of information and ideas about research and practice, promoting the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, conferences, position papers, and by cooperating with other national and international organizations concerned with the study of education of young children.

Employment opportunities:

Assistant Professor of Education, Early Childhood/Elementary Education

This position offers opportunities for involvement with the Capital Area Early Childhood Training Institute, the Capital Area Institute for Mathematics and Science, and engagement in STEM-related activities.

Skills and Experiences needed to fulfill the roles:

-Doctorate in early childhood education or curriculum and instruction with an early childhood focus and Pk-4 teaching experience are required.

-Demonstrated expertise in early science instruction

-Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse populations

-Demonstrate research agenda

-Teach undergraduate and graduate courses

-Participate in academic advising

-Engage in Scholarly service

-Supervise candidates in field experiences


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National Communities of Practice


National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC )

Voices of Practitioners: Teacher Research in early Childhood Education

Through my research of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC ) I found their online journal, Voices of Practitioners: Teacher Research in early Childhood Education. This journal evaluates, peer reviews, and nationally shares early childhood teacher’s independent studies. The Voices of Practitioners journal includes a wide range of early childhood teacher’s research initiatives and inquiry communities. The journal serves as a national community of practice allowing teachers to share experiences and teaching strategies with others who want to learn more. Any teacher in an early childhood settings from birth to third grade are welcomed to submit their research. The journal editor, the teacher research coordinator, and the teacher research coeditors review submissions. Selected submissions are then sent out for peer review and if selected will be published in the journal. The contact person for the journal is Heather Collick, at hcollick@naeyc.org.

The opportunities for joining and supporting this community of practice are as vast as our desire to learn and share research related to early childhood education. Teachers interested in publishing their research would required extensive knowledge and past research of the topic, understanding and ability to implement valid research, scholarly level writing, and a passion for early childhood education. At this time I would like to continue to learn by read others submissions. Eventually I would like to submit my own research inquiry for other to learn form.

National Education Association


Through my research of the National Education Association, I found their edCommunites. This community of practice is an online professional practice and learning environment for educators. It provides educators an opportunity to expand their professional development opportunities, collaborate with other educators, share classroom resources, assessment, and instruction materials, and engages others with a commitment to student success. This community of practice is free and open to all to join. Members have an opportunity to explore a variety of current topics or start their own topic.

I did not find employment opportunities through this community of practice. However, I am interested in joining the edCommunities, I am passionate about learning from other professional and sharing any knowledge and resources I can with other professionals in the field of early childhood education. This community of practice has no official requirements to participate, however an understanding of early childhood education (ECE) and experience working in the field of ECE is required to share knowledge and experiences.

National Association of Early Childhood Educators (NAECTE)

The National Association of Early Childhood Educators (NAECTE) Community of Practice promotes professional growth, discussions of educational issues, advocating for improving early childhood teacher educators, a communication network for teachers, information through the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher education, conferences, resolutions, position papers, other publications, and cooperation with national and international organizations in the field of early childhood education.   NAECTE is a membership-based organization. Anyone interested in learning more about ECE can join for a fee. Members have the opportunity to further their influence with voting privileges and an edibility to serve on the board and other organizational committees within the NAECTE community.


Posted Job Announcement for positions in the field of ECE:

Department Chair Teacher Education

Miami University, College of Education, Health & Society Oxford, Ohio

Department Chair & Full Professor to be responsible for the planning and administration of a department consisting of approximately 30 faculty and a number of assigned staff. The position requires a Ph.D. and eligibility for the rank of Professor. The doctorate must be related to a field in the department from an accredited institution of higher education. Candidates must demonstrate success in meeting teaching and research qualifications to merit the rank of Professor, evidence of commitment to developing faculty and programs that support engagement with diverse students, school and community populations, evidence of experience in developing and maintaining working relationships with school communities, and demonstrated leadership ability. Strong candidates will have expertise and insight on the changing nature of teacher preparation and the ability to assist the department to embrace the national landscape teacher education must engage now and in the future; commitment to strong school/university partnerships, social justice, and the incorporation of diverse, global perspectives in the preparation of teachers.









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Roles in the Early Childhood Education Community

I explored many site related to the field of early childhood education. There are so many local, state, and federal organization, agencies and communities of practice dedicated to children. It is clear the value that has been rightfully placed on early childhood education. Below are three organizations I felt at some point in my career I would like to become a part of, to continue to support quality education for children from outside the classroom.

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood


This organization has been growing sine 2013 to improve early childhood programs in Connecticut. They are focused on supporting children’s early development by ensuring policy, funding and services strengthen the role of families, providers, educators and communities they serve. The OEC provide funding, standards, regulations, training, and educational programs for young children. They also provide home visiting services with funding for training to support families with young children.

There were not any employment positions posted at this time. The CT OEC overseas many programs, projects, and grants that may have more employment opportunities in specific areas.

Association for Positive Behavior Support


Since 2007 this international organization of professional, family, and consumer members and 12 yearly elected board members have been on a mission to improve support, to reduce behavioral challenges, increase independence, and ensure the development of constructive behaviors to meet life goals through research. The APBS serves as an international forum, hosts yearly conferences, publishes a quarterly newsletter, manages and links website on PBS, engages in policy development, facilitates interactions among members, and works to establish national standards.

To enquire about a committee or leadership opportunities the site provides contact information e-mail Executive Director Tim Knoster tknoster@bloomu.edu or call (570) 389-4081.

National Association for the Education of Young Children


National Association for the Education of Young Children began back in the 1920’s, but was not officially named NAEYC until 1964. Their mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children birth to 8 years of age. There values are expressed in the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct. Today this is a huge association of about 80,000 members in more than 300 affiliated chapters continue to be dedicated to promoting high-quality early learning. NAEYC puts out a vast variety of publications, host many conferences and events, encourages and support professional development, and influence public policy to improve quality early childhood education.

This is a membership organization that anyone can join and support in a variety of ways through their website. There are also employment opportunities and descriptions listed on the website http://www.naeyc.org/about/jobs/overview

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The Journey Continues

I have added so much to my anti-bias journey throughout this class. Each class has helped me grow closer to my goal of being a true anti-bias educator. My greatest hope is that I never lose sight of the fact “all children need respectful teachers who know how to foster their competency, strengths, and modes of interactions with the world (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010) .” It is my responsibility to support and challenge all children and to help them develop the best of themselves. To do this I must remember, “It is not that we are different that cause the problem it is that we are treated badly because or these differences (Laureate, 2011).” I will support children’s ability to stand up for themselves and others.

Thank you

     Thank you to all for sharing your knowledge and stories with me. You have helped me grow and develop into the anti-bias teacher I desire to be. Thank you to all who have visited and read my blog posts. I have enjoyed reading and growing from you comments and questions. I look forward to continuing this journey through early childhood development together. It is so powerful to see our network of support growing. We must remember we will not always have the answers, we may not always have the confidence, and we will make mistakes, but we must act in the best interest of children regardless.



Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2011). Strategies for working with diverse children: Your commitment to anti-bias work. Baltimore, MD: Author




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Impacts on Early Emotional Development around the world

I chose to review the UNICEF region of Guatemala. I have a student in my class this year whose family is from Guatemala. I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about the life they left when they came to the United States to begin a new life. Honestly, I am more unaware than I care to admit what life is like in other parts of the world. I was surprised and saddened by what I learned about my student’s homeland.

To say Guatemala has it all is not the catch phrase one might think. Guatemala is a region of the world that has many challenges that have affected the physical, emotional, and cognitive development of generations of children. The natural disasters range from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, landslides, to sever floods. (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.). “From 1976-2009 natural disasters took the lives of about 82,000 people and affected over 6 million others. The economic impact of the damages was around 3 billion (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.). This is just the beginning of the challenges Guatemalan children face daily.

The UNICEF Guatemala has identified four areas of priority for this region; social inclusion, protection of children and adolescents, education for life, and a good start in life. Each of these components are working to improve conditions in Guatemala for children. Social inclusion component is working on equal opportunities for all children. Indigenous people are excluded and discriminated against; with the greatest emphasis on girls, children with disabilities, and children affected by HIV. (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.) The protection of children and adolescent component is working on strengthening the national system for protection. “Guatemala is ranked 5th highest in the world’s homicide rate. About 40 children are orphaned each day due to murder (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.).” Children live in constant fear of violence, exploitation, neglect, abuse, trafficking, and forced marriages at yearly ages. (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.) The education for life component is working on universal access to preschool, primary, and secondary education for girls and boys. The good start in life component is working to reduce malnutrition and expanding access to quality care for pregnant women and the first 1,000 days of life for newborns. They are working on reducing the rate of child and maternal mortality, improving nutrition, water quality, sanitation, and hygiene to improve the physical and mental development of children. (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.) Guatemala is clearly a region with many challenges that have a lasting effect on children’s early development.

“Negative early experiences can impair children’s mental health and effect their cognitive, behavioral, social-emotional development (Trustees of Columbia University, 2010).”  The children of Guatemala face extreme negative conditions from multiple sources and it is effecting their physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive health.   “Trauma is toxic to the brain and can affect development and learning in a multitude of ways.   However, children are resilient and within positive learning environments they can grow, learn, and succeed (Souers & Hall, 2016).” Although children in Guatemala are facing great challenges and trauma with help and support, they can survive and thrive in life. Efforts like those of the UNICEF are critical for the development of Guatemalan children and their future success. The ultimate goal is that all “children can exercise all of their rights to survive, prosper and develop their full potential (UNICEF Guatemala, n.d.).”

This study of Guatemala has given me new insight to my student whose family is from Guatemala. I have a new found understanding and respect for the possible challenges they faced and left behind to come to the United States to raise their children. Personally, I have gained a new appreciation for the organizations that advocate and support children in our country and around the world. Human rights are for all not just those that have a governments that protect them. We need to be the voice for those that have no voice! (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010)


Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Souers, K., & Hall, P. (2016). Fostering Resilient Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Trustees of Columbia University, The. (2010). National Center for Children

in Poverty (NCCP).

UNICEF Guatemala, (nd.). UNICEF for every child



The Sexualization of Early Childhood

This is a sad and shocking topic to discuss. No one should ever be made to feel like physical appearance and sexuality defines his or her worth. This is not a new issue for teenagers trying to deal with so many changes in their body and figuring out how and where they fit in. It is new to focus on such topics so early as preschool. “Preschool age to tweens is when you can make the biggest difference in reducing the negative impacts of the sexualization of childhood on our children (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009, pp. 7).” It is important to realize very young children are exposed to the same inappropriate and harmful messages in todays cultural environment (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009) as teenagers, young adults, and adults are. We live in a cultural that bombards the media, toys, video games, and more with negative messages of sexualization affecting children of all ages, genders, race, socioeconomic status, and ethnic groups.

The foundation of our sexual identity is formed at a very young age from the positive and negative experiences we have and messages we receive. This foundation will affect the types of sexual relationships we have when we grow up. (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009) It is important for us as parents and teachers of young children to support a positive foundation and develop a support system for children to develop a positive sexual identity. As a teacher and a parent, I have not experienced any stories so explicate and graphic as the ones share in the book, So Sexy So Soon. (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009) However, I have experienced more subtle examples that illustrate the exposure of young children to a highly sexualized environment. I have notice over the year girls are more aware of and looking for ways to alter their appearance at younger and younger ages. Preschool girls wearing makeup, jewelry, coloring their hair, and wearing tighter and shorter clothes to school are examples of young girls getting the message their natural looks are not enough. I have noticed a trend to design girls clothing to match older teenagers and young adults just in a smaller size. This can send messages that young girls are interested and ready to be sexually active well before they know how to send this message. I have noticed an increase in preschool age students who feel justified in pointing out and teasing other children who do not dress the same as they do. The increase in sexualized media content is sending the message that if you don’t look like the models and dress like them, your life wont be as glamorous and you will not be as happy. Children are reenacting these messages by bullying peers at younger and younger ages about their physical appearance.

These are more subtle than the examples in the book, however they carry the same message, children are highly influenced by the sexualized environment they are growing up in. In my classroom, we had an experience that opened our eyes to this very issue. One morning as a few students were entering the classroom, a staff member noticed one of the little girls shirts and mentioned she liked the color. Another little girl stopped, looked at the teacher, and said I will go back out and come in again so you can look at me. She really did go out and back in, paused, posed, and waited for our compliments. This took us by surprise, we had to take a step back and reflect on the messages we had been sending. We realized in an effort to engage and interact with student’s daily as they enter the classroom our focus may have been or at least ws interpreted by this girl on children’s appearance. This was a big revelation for us. We took time to discuss this situation with each other and agreed to make a conscious effort to not identify any physical characteristics of children as they entered the room. This was actually harder than we thought it would be. We are working hard on catching our comments and really thinking about he messages we are sending children about many topics but especially about their sexual identity.

“No child growing up today can fully escape today’s sexualized environment (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009, pp. 7)” but we can do more to make the impact less damaging to children’s sexual, personal, and social identity development. Building resilience in children will not be easy but we as parents and early childhood professionals must make every effort to show children ways to expand their horizons that respect who they are as individuals and each other. (Levin & Kilbourn, 2009) Through our actions and our words, we can make a positive difference in a child’s sexual identity that will follow them to adulthood and impact future relationships. Helping children value themselves beyond their physical appearance and attractiveness is key. We must counter the messages of the media with a true understanding of self-worth and valuing others.



Levin, D. E., & Kilbourne, J. (2009). [Introduction]. So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids (pp. 1-8). New York: Ballantine Books.

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Evaluating Impacts of Professional Practice


As early childhood professionals we try to separate our home lives from our school lives as best we can. However, we are human and who are, is who we are, at home and at school. I can think back to some examples of times my personal life has affected how I interacted at school with fellow staff, students, and parents as hard as I try to not let this happen. When I am sick and not sleeping well, I can clearly tell a difference in my ability to be patient, energetic, and able to quickly solve problems. This is a mild example of how my personal life can affect my professional life and have an impact on children and families. I can imagine if I was subjected to an “ism” in my personal life how much that could have an effect on my professional life and how I interact with children and families.

Imagining how “isms” in our personal life can affect our professional life is important to knowing yourself and the deep impact we have on children and families. If I experienced classism in my personal life, I could anticipate the challenges I might face in my professional life. In this scenario – throughout my life I felt judged and looked down on because of my socioeconomic status. As a child, I was often teased because my clothes and shoes wear not the same as the other kids. I never felt comfortable asking friend to come to my house. I did not want my friends to see where I lived. We lived in what was referred to as the poor part of town. I defiantly absorbed many messages growing up about prejudice and social advantages and my disadvantages that affected my social identity. (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010). As I grew up I was able to get several jobs and put my self through college and become a teacher. Although I am a professional now and part of a professional community, I often feel others do not see me as and equal, do to my childhood. This could have an impact on my professional life and how I interact with a variety of families.

The social identity I have developed in this scenario do to classism could have an affect on my ability to effectively communicate and interact with children and families of different social classes. I may be less comfortable working with families of higher economic status do to my own biases developed from my past experiences. I may have a tendency to identify more with children of a lower socioeconomic level than other classes. I may not respect or feel respected by families of different classes. I may make assumptions about families higher socioeconomic status, that they have and easier life and do not need as much support and attention from me. The affects from our personal and social identity can have many challenges. My bias developed from my social identity may also allow me to better understand the needs and challenges of families in my classroom of lower socioeconomic status. Having grown up in a similar life style families may feel more comfortable sharing their struggles and asking for the help they need. I may also be more aware of the real community support available to families in need.

Our personal and social identity is part a who we are as an accumulation of our experiences from birth. (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010) If we can take time to reflect on our lives and be aware of our biases, we can be aware of the possible negative and positive impacts they may have. We as professionals in the early childhood field must make every effort to ensure we do not let our experiences have a negative effect on our interactions with children and families. If we are unaware of our biases we will be unaware of the impact they may have. Anti-bias education begins with self-reflection. (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010)



Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and

     ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.




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The Importance of listening to and Speaking with Children

It is valuable practice for teachers to take a step back from their everyday role and observe there class and other classrooms. I chose to observe teachers and teacher assistant’s interactions with children during Discovery time in a preschool setting. During this time of the day student verbally plan what center they would like to choose and what they would like to do while in that center. Children are able to change their plan and independently choose when to change their roles and when to move to a new center. Teachers move around the room joining student’s play throughout the 40 minute Discovery time. My goal was to observe effective “teacher talk, encouraging and letting children know that we value their efforts and accomplishment.” (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010) I also wanted to observe effective “Challenging talk, building on what children say and moving beyond the immediate conversational context.” (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010)

In my observation, I saw many examples of staff getting down to the child’s level to join their play and to talk to them about their play in a calm respectful tone (Kovach &Da Ros-Voseles, 2011). Staff showed genuine interest and joy in children’s play. Children were very receptive of staff joining their play; they smiled, welcomed, and quickly incorporated the staff into a role. The staff was able to allow the children to take the lead and direct the play. Staff fluctuated between questions that encouraged a one-word answer specific to the context of the play to more open-ended questions connecting to real-life experiences (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010). It was clear the staff understood the value of “Challenging talk” but they were still working on making it a consistent form of communication. Overall, it was clear staff viewed this time of day as child or peer centered and not teacher centered (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010).

I observed many examples of staff encouraging children and trying to convey the message, that they value children’s efforts and accomplishments. However, many of the interactions were through phrases such as; good job, I like the way you did…, and that is beautiful. Although it was clear the staff’s intention was to use the message of “teacher talk”, they may need some training or support on how to tweak their communications to be more effective. Focusing more on how the child accomplished the task rather than their opinion of how the task turned out puts the value on the child’s efforts not the teacher’s opinions. I would recommend new phrases as described by Rainer Dangei & Durden such as; “Wow you have spent a longtime working on you project (2011)”, and “That is so colorful it stands out on the purple paper (2011).”  Changing our communication puts the value on the time, effort, and creativity children are putting into a project or task not on the quality of the finished product or the teacher’s feelings about the final product.

This weeks readings centered on mindful listening to and speaking with children.   The reading that stood out to me the most was, The Nature of Teacher Talk during Small Group Activities. (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010) As I read this article, I began questioning my own communication and the communication I have modeled in my classroom between children and between children and adults. Throughout my observation, I reflected on my own communications with students.   “It is important to consider the actual words we say to children.” (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010) Through the readings and the observation, I have learned the importance of communication and the incredible impact it has on children. I believe my staff and I use some aspects of both types of talk, however we often fall back into old habits of less valuable communication. I will be taking a closer look at my communications and the communications of other staff in my classroom and supporting our ability to consistently use affective “Teacher talk” and affective “Challenging talk” (Rainer Dangei & Durden, 2010) with students throughout the day. “To help children communicate with each other they have to feel listened to and seen.” (Kovach &Da Ros-Voseles, 2011)


Kovach, B., & Da Ros-Voseles, D. (2011). Communicating with babies. YC: Young Children, 66(2), 48-50. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=60001533&site=ehost-live&scope=site


Rainer Dangei, J., & Durden, T. R. (2010). The nature of teacher talk during small group activities. YC: Young Children, 65(1), 74-81. Retrieved from the Walden Library using the Education Research Complete database. http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=47964033&site=ehost-live&scope=site