Saturday, September 20, 2008

Leading the Way Confrence

Today was the Leading the Way Conference at UW-SP. Again, it was another wonderful conference at a very affordable rate. The Leading the Way Conference is something put together by several agencies, including the Wisconsin Rapids Child Care Resource and Referral.

This year's keynote speaker was Patricia Dischler and she was very funny. She currently has several books out that seem like worthwhile purchases.

I spoke at the first session, leaving me time to attend a few other sessions before heading home.
My presentation was less than steller this year and you can read about that here. I'm hoping for better luck next year. I did go to a very interesting presentation put together by the Registry, NTC, MSTC, and UW-SP. This was a very informative presentation regarding all of the educational opportunities for Early Childhood Professionals and the wonderful collaborations that are happening in Wisconsin between UW-SP and the technical college stystem.

While at this conference, I ran into some of the my old coworkers and had a pretty interesting discussion with them. They told me that staff are not pursuing continuing education opportunities locally because of the cost factor. Why was this interesting? Well, these same folks were willing to drive 40 minutes away to Stevens Point because this conference was less than half the cost of the presentations that are often offered in Wausau. This is an area of concern that I am going to bring to my next WECA meeting and see if we can come up with some solutions. It seems like such a shame that so many wonderful learning opportunties are being passed by right here in our own community.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

National Board Certification

I'm wondering how folks feel about early childhood teachers being Nationally Board Certified. I do not know any early childhood teachers who have sought this out, but I would be interested in chatting with someone in the future. From what I gather, the certification process has two components; an online test and a portfolio.

Education World has an article highlighting teachers who have gone through NBC and it sounds as though teachers are finding it to be a frustrating, but rewarding process. The center that I recently left was undergoing the rigorous process of becoming NAEYC accredited and I wonder how this process would compare. Wisconsin has a whole website dedicated to the NBC process and where teachers can find support. NAEYC does support National Board Certification and it's standards for the Advanced Programs of Early Childhood Professionals are alligned with NBFT Standards. Furthermore, the AFT supports NBFT and process to become a NBCT.

At this point, I'm in the learning/reading stages of trying to figure out if this is something that I want to pursure. I'm begining a Ph.D in Early Childhood soon and I'm unsure if becoming an NBCT will add anything further to that.

Goodbye Admin. . . . . . .

Well, I did leave the world of being a director. I learned a lot about myself and where my strengths lay. I believe I would have been a very successful director if I had been working for a smaller center at this point in my career. Perhaps I will walk that path again one day, but for now, teaching is where I should be--either in the the preschool classroom or in the college classroom!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards

I'm reading, Einstein never Used Flash Cards, by Kathy Hirsch-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkof. I'm thoroughly enjoying this book and it only further supports what I've learned as an undergraduate student. It also backs up what I am continually trying to get across to some teachers and parents where I'm working now.

This book was a big hit about five years ago, yet, I'm still seeing so much emphasis on teacher directed activities and little time spent playing. There is a tremendous pressure being placed on teachers, especially with NCLB. One might think that this pressure wouldn't trickle down into preschool and child care, but it most certainly does and parents seem to be feeling the pressure too.

Research demonstrates that play is important and develops serious skills needed for future learning. Yet, adults still continue to be too busy to find time to play with children and encourage children to play. Not only do children need to have time for unstructured play, adults do also, yet, we still continue to over schedule our selves and the children we work with.