Scholar Practitioners Who Impact Future Change

As a practitioner-scholar in leading evaluation initiatives, I will have the ability to support children’s learning by helping families and programs understand what quality means in a program.  Evaluations can help all programs to provide a higher quality program with engaging experiences for children that allow them to exceed learning goals (National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force, 2013).  In leading evaluation initiatives, I can implement resources that support stakeholders and suggest professional development methods for program improvement (National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force, 2013).  There will be a data-sharing process suggested in the evaluation initiative (Harvard Family Research Project, 2017).  This action will allow stakeholders to have access to some of the same information, such as the program strengths, challenges, and interests (Harvard Family Research Project, 2017).

The greatest unforeseen barrier is the way information is shared with stakeholders; usually, it is not transparent.  Often, information shared with families are not updated frequently or promote ongoing communication between home and school (Harvard Family Research Project, 2017).  The information shared is not transparent or written in language that families do not understand with the use of unfamiliar terms (Harvard Family Research Project, 2017).  Minimizing barriers can be done by ensuring all parties involved are included in the decision-making process.  Everyone’s opinion matter and can yield valuable results when incorporated into the quality of the program.  Programs have to remember to stay away from “educational terms” and when sharing data, including a range of data, including test scores, work samples to show progress, and add day-to-day observations of student’s performance (Harvard Family Research Project, 2017).  The programs should remember to keep the connection going between home and school to support children’s learning.

References

National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force. (2013). The report of the National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force: Taking stock: Assessing and improving early childhood learning and program quality. Retrieved from http://policyforchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Taking-Stock.pdf.

Harvard Family Research Project. (2017). Tips for administrators, teachers, and families: How to share data effectively [Issue brief]. Resources & Research From Global Family Research Project. Retrieved from https://globalfrp.org/Articles/Tips-for-Administrators-Teachers-and-Families-How-to-Share-Data-Effectively

Scholar Practitioners as Program Evaluators

Program Evaluation

This course will aid in becoming a better educator that will have an understanding in other areas of early childhood, such as program evaluation and having a quality program.  Program evaluations allow individuals access to vital information that informs the program using research-based measurement tools to collect data in an accurate and reliable manner (National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, 2015).  This author will have the ability to gain knowledge of programs needs and abilities while transforming the way educators view their school.  This experience will allow for guidance with teachers and give technical assistance, support, and an extra set of eyes when in need.  In turn, educators can continue to focus enhancing learning for students that require their attention.  With proper support and a guided attention to details educators and program, evaluators can become a dynamic duo with one voice, and that is to provide high quality and developmentally appropriate education.

Impact of Programming

Evidence that children are actively engaged in learning can show evidence of previous experience, and young learners are interested in exploring new experiences based on conversations is proof that an impact is made on all parties involved (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003).  Quality can only be achieved when staff has the proper support to complete the many tasks they already have.  Having an impact on any program means the evaluator need to be able to look objectively, actively listen, and then make decisions that will produce the desired results of the shared unified goals of the education team (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2003).  As a team, the children are eager and excited about walking into their classroom and ready to develop new skills and engage in new experiences.

References

National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/CAPEexpand.pdf.

National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. (2015). Tracking progress in early care and education: Program, staff, and family measurement tools. Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/family/docs/tracking-progress-early-care-education-long-version.pdf.

 

This entry was posted on September 7, 2017. 2 Comments

Using Assistive Technology

Modifying and using assistive/supportive technology in today’s classrooms is vital when trying to ensure educators are meeting the needs of each child.  Students in general education often learn to cope with writing tasks, and students with learning disabilities (LD) have difficulties in fulfilling those demands resulting in reduced academic achievement throughout their years in school, but assistive modifications have helped these students in many ways (Hetzroni & Shrieber, 2004).  One major goal for educators working with students with LD is to provide appropriate them with support to improve their opportunities to achieve academic and social skills, and assistive technology (AT) is designed to make the learning environment more accessible and for enhancing student’s productivity (Hetzroni & Shrieber, 2004).

Word Prediction Software

Students with LD grapple with reading, spelling, and/or difficulties with writing and typing use fantastic technologies such as iPhones and Androids word prediction programs and text to voice to help complete assignments to their satisfaction (Nielsen, L. (2011).  Text-to-voice also allows assisting students with LD that are struggling with supportive capabilities to checking their spelling and grammar in addition to improving reading and writing comprehension skills (Nielsen, 2011).  Grade school comes with its own set of issues, and for students with LD, this period can become especially difficult when trying to grasp the written form which can turn into a demanding task.  Word prediction software used with students who have difficulty with spelling, punctuation, and syntax; and the program aims to reduce the mechanical demands of writing and increase motivation for those children with specific LD’s (Silio & Barbetta, 2010).

Text-to-Voice

Text-to-speech, also known as text-to-voice a software application designed to use a computerized voice to convert normal language text into audible speech and has been considered more effective than either the use of a human reader (Silio & Barbetta, 2010).  When text-to-voice is combined with the use of word prediction, they have shown to be more effective in supporting the writing of students with specific LD than only using either in isolation (Silio & Barbetta, 2010).  Assistive technologies have allowed students with LD to compensate for skills such as reading, organization, memory, or math problems and to enhance their functionality within their environment (Hetzroni & Shrieber, 2004).

Computer Software

Computer software can offer students with LD immediate spelling assistance and text-to-voice with appropriate revisions (Williams, 2002).  One software model, Write: OutLoud is designed to provide the student with speech-feedback that enables the computer to read selected sections of text to students as the software highlights each word as it is being read aloud (Williams, 2002).  With a focus on accountability, this model focus on accessibility and accommodations through technology supports implemented through a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which is crucial to ensure students can show what they know (Johnson, n.d.).  Write: OutLoud also ensure students have appropriate universal tools, designated supports, and/or accommodations to best support each student’s needs throughout the school year (Johnson, n.d.).  In addition to the student being able to hear what is being typed, the program can also be used for proofreading finished work, can be set to speak each letter typed, speak words, sentences, or paragraphs with the additional benefit of a customization option to ensure culturally responsiveness (Heinisch, 2001).

The Co: Writer also develop by Don Johnson, is a program designed to provide spelling and writing assistance to both emerging and experienced writers with its primary feature being word prediction (Mirenda, Turoldo, & McAvoy, 2006).  Additional supports for grade school children include features such as flexible spelling, phonetic spelling, linguistic word prediction, automatic grammar and punctuation assistance during text composition, the option to creating topic dictionaries of specialized words, or using one of several topic dictionaries that come with the program (Mirenda, Turoldo, & McAvoy, 2006).

Effective Assessments

Adapted keyboards and specialized software products that provide writing support are commonly used in schools and provide additional support for students with physical and learning disabilities (Mirenda, Turoldo, & McAvoy, 2006).  In addition to LD, physical disabilities, handwriting may not be an option due to limitations in motor control, difficulty forming letters, illegible writing, or slow speed and assistive technology is essential in providing effective materials and assessments for those students (Tumlin & Heller, 2004).  Models such as the ones stated are not intended to teach different skills, but is an enhancement that fits nicely into existing programs and curriculums and allow students with physical and learning disabilities additional tools to support inclusive learning (Williams, 2002).

Issues that have been noted as one article suggests most students with specific learning disabilities have reading and writing delays, however, in the elementary years, students may not need additional support such as assistive technologies, word prediction, spell check, graphic organizers, or books on tape (Zascavage & Winterman, 2009).  I struggled to find studies on Write:OutLoud and the resources were limited, and one source notes there are only small bodies of research available that has examined the impact of various features of word processing and word prediction programs such as Co: Writer on the writing of students with LD ((Mirenda, Turoldo, & McAvoy, 2006).

References

Heinisch, B. (2001). Case studies using Write:Outloud. Australian Journal Of Learning Disabilities, 6(3), 28. doi:10.1080/19404150109546677

Hetzroni, O. E., & Shrieber, B. (2004). Word processing as an assistive technology tool for enhancing academic outcomes of students with writing disabilities in the general classroom. Journal Of Learning Disabilities, 37(2), 143-154.

Johnson, D.  (n.d.).  Write:OutLoud testing accommodations.  Retrieved from  http://donjohnston.com/testing-accommodations/.

Mirenda, P., Turoldo, K., & McAvoy, C. (2006). The impact of word prediction software on the written output of students with physical disabilities. Journal Of Special Education Technology, 21(3), 5-12.

Nielsen, L. (2011). 25 incredible assistive technologies. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2011/09/25-incredible-assistive-technologies.html.

Silio, M. C., & Barbetta, P. M. (2010). The effects of word prediction and text-to-speech technologies on the narrative writing skills of Hispanic students with specific learning disabilities. Journal Of Special Education Technology, 25(4), 17-32.

Tumlin, J., & Heller, K. W. (2004). Using word prediction software to increase typing fluency with students with physical disabilities. Journal Of Special Education Technology, 19(3), 5-14.

Williams, S. C. (2002). How speech-feedback and word-prediction software can help students write. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(3), 72.

Zascavage, V., & Winterman, K. G. (2009). What middle school educators should know about assistive technology and universal design for learning. Middle School Journal, 40(4), 46-52.

Choosing the Proper Assessment Scenarios

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) amendments of 1997, require students with disabilities to participate in regular assessments to measure progress on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals (Bowen & Rude, 2006).   When regular assessments cannot be used, state approved alternative assessments with accommodations that align with standards should be used to ensure compliance with the IEDA amendments (Bowne & Rude, 2006).  Providing students with disabilities access to the general education curriculum is a critical aspect, and is one supported by No Child Left Behind [NCLB] (Bowen & Rude, 2006).  Also, research shows improved participation and performance of students with disabilities in large scale assessments (Bowen & Rude, 2006).

Purposeful Assessment

Teachers can use numerous activities to determine whether their instruction is valid and whether students are acquiring critical skills or content through active engagement to help students integrate new knowledge with background knowledge and construct new or revise existing understandings (Conderman & Hedin, 2012).  Purposeful assessments are ongoing assessments that guides and directs subsequent instruction, provide multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning, and assist educators in gaining information they need to help students as they individualize lessons that guide learners to achieve higher levels of content (Cobb, 2003).

Information Assessments Provides Educators

Assessments provide early childhood educators with insight into young student’s development in skills such as social, cognitive, linguistic, physical, emotional, and moral-ethical domains to support learning and appropriate development (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards).  Teachers integrate knowledge from assessments by designing and implementing lessons effectively to convey developmentally appropriate content for each learner (NBPTS, 2012).  Assessments provide educators with valuable information that allow them to meet the multiple needs of children and also enhance their development and learning by using the data to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child (Lutton, 2011).

Scenario One

Sarah is a four-year-old girl in a Montessori style preschool setting that utilizes a Montessori curriculum.  The school does not have a trained Montessori teacher; however, educators encourage learning through exploration of sensory motor activities with limited input.  The curriculum is modified to focus on maximum learning and the teacher’s focus if on guidance and support.

Sarah has been enrolled in this early childhood center since she was fifteen-months-old.  Based on information provided by Sarah’s mom, she was born prematurely.  Sarah began walking at fourteen months and did not start talking until age three.  She uses both hands to play with blocks and struggles to hold a pencil.  This child also struggles with expressive language, uses “me” and “you” incorrectly, and communicate in other ways, such as pointing, shake head, and gestures.  As a first-year teacher, what assessment would you recommend to me in assisting this child needs?

Scenario Two

Aaron is a 6-year-old first grader who was described by his teacher “does not stay on task” and isolates himself from the class when on the playground or in group activities.  He cannot maintain balance to catch a ball or when gently bumped by peers on the playground.  Aaron is not able to walk through a new area without bumping into objects or people, and when outside or on a field trip teacher have to hold his hand so that he does not wander off.

These issues are becoming a big concern to Aaron’s educators and upon speaking with mom stated she did not receive prenatal care and noticed Aaron does not adjust to changes in routine and gets very angry and agitated at home.  Mom also said Aaron has trouble completing tasks at home by himself such as getting dressed, brushing his teeth with assistance, and putting his shoes on the correct feet.  Aaron’s mom has come to his teacher for help, what can his teacher do to provide some insight into the child’s abilities?

References

Bowen, S. K., & Rude, H. A. (2006). Assessment and students with disabilities: Issues and challenges with educational reform. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 25(3), 24-30.

Cobb, C. (2003). Effective instruction begins with purposeful assessments. Reading Teacher, 57(4), 386-388.

Conderman, G., & Hedin, L. (2012). Purposeful assessment practices for co-teachers. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(4), 18-27.

Lutton, A. (2011). Using the new NAEYC professional preparation standards. YC: Young Children, 66(2), 78-82.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). (2012). Early childhood generalist standards (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://boardcertifiedteachers.org/sites/default/files/EC-GEN.pdf.

This entry was posted on July 20, 2017. 1 Comment

Policies and National Regulations and Standards for Early Childhood Education

The National Association for the Education of Young Children believes state standards provide each state with “a national vision for all early childhood professionals, whether they work in child care centers or homes, Head Start, or pre-K–4 classrooms” (Lutton, 2011, p.  78).

The purpose of the Tennessee Early Childhood Education Early Learning Developmental Standards, also known as TN-ELDS, were developed to provide documentation of the continuum of developmental milestones from birth through age five (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).  The standards were based on the research relating to the processes, sequences, and long-term consequences of early learning and development of young children (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).  The standards are based on age, birth-48 months and standards for 4-year-old children according to TN Department of Education https://www.tn.gov/education/article/early-learning-development-standards.  The primary approach is to individualize, appropriate and reasonable supports and accommodation provided to children to close the achievement gap and promote school readiness for all children regardless of economic, linguistic, and cultural differences and/or physical, learning, and emotional challenges (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).

These policies with NAEYC principles of child development and learning that inform practice and NBPTS Standard V align with the standards of the Tennessee Department of Education. Standard I of the NBPTS Standard V state Early Childhood Generalist Standards using knowledge of child development to understand the whole child (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards [NBPTS], 2012, p.  19). And the standard from Tennessee Department of Education standard that state early learning and development are multi-dimensional and learning is integrated and occurs simultaneously across all developmental domains, which are interrelated and interactive with one another (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d. p.  2.).  There is an emphasis on developing the whole child and both standards recognize that children are individual learners that required appropriate instruction by knowledgeable educators for each phase of the learning process.  Through these standards, educators learn to guide and assist children in meeting goals with the assistance of coordinated systems that support children as individuals and members of families, cultures, and communities with an emphasis on shared accountability (National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], 2003).  Suggestions for improvement could include information on standards that are parent-friendly.  Before I became an educator, I did not understand what much of the information given to me by educators really meant for my child.  And honestly, I was simply too embarrassed to ask for help in understanding the “professional terms” to assist my child.  Information given to parents in an easier to understand format would assist those parents that lack the education to understand this vital information.  One of the goals educational standards are put into place is to ensure proper supports are put into place during the early childhood/preschool years that are derived from sound assessments and are appropriate lessons to meet the child’s individual needs (Dennis, Rueter, & Simpson, 2013).

Questions that I have regarding state standards are as follows;

  1. Is there a way to align all state standards so that each child has an equal playing field when being educated?
  2. As the way we educate children to evolve, how can the standards be adjusted to fit the needs of all learners?
  3. Is there a way to hold administrators, educators, and/or professionals accountable when standards are not being met other than the state taking over the school?

 

References

Dennis, L. l., Rueter, J. A., & Simpson, C. G. (2013). Authentic assessment: establishing a  clear foundation for instructional practices. Preventing School Failure, 57(4), 189-195. doi:10.1080/1045988X.2012.681715.

Lutton, A. (2011). Using the new NAEYC professional preparation standards. YC: Young Children, 66(2), 78-82.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). (2012). Early childhood generalist standards (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://boardcertifiedteachers.org/sites/default/files/EC-GEN.pdf.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/CAPEexpand.pdf.

Tennessee Department of Education.  (n.d.).  Tennessee early childhood education early learning developmental standards.  Retrieved from https://www.tn.gov/education/article/early-learning-development-standards.

Fostering Classroom Communities

The title of the dissertation that I explored is the Moore (2012) Effects of Preschools on the Academic Outcome of Children from Low-Income Homes.  The problem examined in this dissertation was to understand how some students excel in low-income homes, while others are delayed due to a lack of maturation in social skills and display deficiencies that could possibly have a negative effect on academic performance.  These low-income children often fall behind academically more than their peers from middle and/or high income homes.

This study’s purpose was to examine whether a difference exists between attendance at a non-accredited full/part-day pre-k program, or Head Start program and no attendance at a pre-k program in areas where access to an accredited high-quality program is not available.  The study focused on the issue that many low-income families did not have little or no access to high-quality program in their community, therefore lack the ability to narrow achievement gaps between low-income families than their more privileged peers.  The population/participants of this particular study were 5 and 6-year-old students who attended a full-day, half-day, or Head Start program and 5 and 6-year-old students who did not attend a pre-k or Head Start, and kindergarten students from low-income homes from a school district in southeastern United States from the 2010-2011 school year.  The methodology of this study was a nonequivalent control group, quasi-experimental design of quantitative method.  This method was used to investigate the readiness outcomes of children that attended a full-time program, part-time program, Head Start program, or no preschool program at all.  The sources used to collect information were data from the school district’s research and evaluation department.  The results of the Dominie Reading and Writing Assessment Portfolio tests given in the beginning, middle, and end of the school year were stored on this data; I will add, prior permission was given to the researcher to obtain this data. The Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software system was used to analyze data because of the ability to use data from numerous files to create various reports, charts, descriptive statistics, complex statistical analyses, and distributions and trends.  And the Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the median differences among children.  The median was compared of these four groups of children who participated in a full-day preschool program, a part-day preschool program, a Head Start program, or no program at all.  This study concluded no differences were found in this study; however, there is a strong implication from research that has already been done, that in order for children to be successful, school leaders should invest in high-quality preschool programs in relation to the questions in this study.

Resources used by the author were related in assisting in the research design and comparing kindergarten students from low-income homes who attended a non-accredited full-day, part-time, or Head Start program in addition to students who attended no program at all to determine the effect of attendance or nonattendance on academic achievement.  The sources Buchanan (2010) Student Readiness: Preparing Children for Kindergarten, Rose (2010) Preschool Connectedness: The Impact of Attending a School District Affiliated Prekindergarten Program on Student Success in the Initial Elementary Years, and Jadue (1989) Effectiveness of Preschool Education in Children of Low-income Status in Chile each source provided a prospective on the effectiveness of preschool education for children from families enrolled in the preschool-first grade in a low-income families compared to children that did not attend any school setting at all.

The information gleaned from this dissertation could further work related to fostering supportive learning environments through positive classroom cultures and classroom communities because it allows me to understand how family environments and communities could hinder or assist children in flourishing in a school setting.   Ernst (2014) believes “understanding the challenges families may face can help you understand how to support participation” (p. 110).  This research has helped me understand the need in early childhood and my role as an agent of positive social change in my community.  Understanding the need is the first step in seeking out solutions to a perceived problem in education.

References

Buchanan, D.  (2010).  Student readiness: Preparing children for kindergarten (Doctoral dissertation).  Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.  (UMI No. 3391450).

Ernst, J. D. (2014). The welcoming classroom: Building strong home-to-school connections for early learning. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House, Inc.  Chapter 6, “Culturally and Linguistically Competent Classrooms” (pp. 103–122).

Jadue, G. (1989).  Effectiveness of preschool education in children of low-income status in Chile (Doctoral dissertation).  Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 9001429).

Moore, T. J. (2012). Effects of preschools on the academic outcome of children from low-income homes (Order No. 3507435). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ Walden University. (1015379317). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/docview/1015379317?accountid=14872.

Rose, M.  (2010).  Preschool connectedness: The impact of attending a school district affiliated prekindergarten program on student success in the initial elementary years (Doctoral dissertation).  Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.  (UMI No. 3389733).

This entry was posted on December 11, 2016. 5 Comments

Hello everyone,

Greetings from Memphis,

I am Tunyia Williams and I was born and raised in Chicago, however, now reside in Memphis, TN.  I am married with three children, two boys and one very spoiled pre-teen girl.  I taught in Early Childhood for over 17 years as a Head Start and Pre-K teacher, and later as a Family Service Worker for both programs.  I currently work for the Department of Education working with early childhood through school age children.  My goal is to learn and explore all aspects of the Early Childhood field; and pursuing an advanced degree will allow me to gain the skill, knowledge, and hand on experiences needed to become an advocate for children I desire to help one day in my professional capacity.

My Personal Language and Literacy Development Journey

My most memorable language and literacy development memory began when I was in college.  I was required to take College Spanish to earn my Bachelor’s Degree, well, the problem was I had never taken Spanish before in my life.  In high school I took French and found it so enjoyable that I continued to take a new level each year until I graduated.  Now, I am enrolled in College Spanish and I am completely lost.  I attempted getting help from co-workers that are bilingual, listening to Spanish CD’s, and even watching television on the Spanish channel for insight into how to grow in language and literacy development.  I tried talking to the instructor, which required the class to only speak in Spanish at all times or she would not answer, but of course I did not know or understand how to communicate.  I felt all alone and began drowning in this class, needless to say I failed miserably earning an “F” in the class.  Research suggest educators must consider duel language learners (DDL) have the task of learning vocabulary, phonology, syntax, and   pragmatics, as well as literacy related domains of phonological awareness and print conventions of a new language while learning social rules at the same time (Zepeda, Castro & Cronin, 2011).

This course has deepened my perspective of that memory and/or experience because I was put in a position to truly understand how DDL feel in a classroom when they do not understand or have adequate educators.  Research suggest, instruction should focus on developing oral language skills by modeling with young children, and by providing rich and engaging language environments in the classroom while simultaneously building early literacy skills (Castro, Páez, Dickinson & Frede, 2011).  Each child learns in a different way, therefore, learning environments should be supportive and reflect this individuality.  Building lessons that support the development of both oral language and early literacy skills for duel language learners assist them in making sense of both languages.  In their efforts, educators should not overwhelm young learners, because research suggests the quality of instruction is what matters most in educating English learners (Calderón, Slavin & Sánchez, 2011).

A resource from this course that has affected my current and/or future practice as an early childhood professional is the video What We Learn Before We’re Born.  This research suggests babies are affected by their environment and is actually learning from inside the womb (Paul, 2011).  As a mother, student, and early childhood educators this was the first time this information was presented to me.  I am intrigued to learn more about this subject.  Learning about how infants actually have experiences with taste and smells from the womb is amazing information. Gaining an understand of how children are having experiences from the womb is still a subject I would like to continue to learn more about.  This topic could affect my future research as a scholar of change because I will have a greater knowledge into this subject and have the ability to assist families with healthy lifestyles changes to support their infant’s development.  I will be able to help parents understand the affects their actions could potentially have on their unborn child.  Research shows The fetal bran can be influenced by exogenous factors when risks are begin prenatally produced due to maternal stress (Walker et al., 2011).

References

Calderón, M., Slavin, R., & Sánchez, M. (2011). Effective instruction for English learners. The Future of Children, 21(1), 103-127.

Castro, D. C., Páez, M. M., Dickinson, D. K., & Frede, E. (2011). Promoting language and literacy in young dual language learners: Research, practice, and policy. Child Development Perspectives, 5(1), 15-21.

Paul, A. M. (2011). What we learn before we’re born [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born.

Walker, S. P., Wachs, T. D., Grantham-McGregor, S., Black, M. M., Nelson, C. A., Huffman, S. L., … & Gardner, J. M. M. (2011). Inequality in early childhood: risk and protective factors for early child development. The Lancet, 378(9799), 1325-1338.

Zepeda, M., Castro, D. C., & Cronin, S. (2011). Preparing early childhood teachers to work with young dual language learners. Child Development Perspectives, 5(1), 10-14.

This entry was posted on August 10, 2016. 8 Comments

Jacob’s Language and Literacy Journey

 

This journey is about a little boy named Jacob.  He was introduced to the community early head start at 6 months old, then at the age of three began at the head start which is located in the same building.  Upon entering the early head start program Jacob has some difficulties interacting and engaging with others.  There appeared to be signs of trouble and/or abuse in the home by Jacob’s dad.  Sarah, Jacob’s mom would volunteer at the early head start when her husband Max allowed.  Sarah and Jacob appeared to be afraid of dad’s presence, in fact, they acted totally different when he was at the school.

Sarah, Jacob’s mom finally was able to confide in the teachers and begin to get counseling for herself, her husband, and for her child.  Intervention strategies were implemented by professionals, and now Jacob’s family appears to be on the right track.  Sarah volunteer’s at the head start often and attempts to implement strategies from the school.  The one problem Sarah have in helping Jacob enhance language and literacy skills is money, please see a section of their story below.

Language and Literacy Materials at Home and School

Acquiring language and literacy materials at home and at Jacob’s school was sometimes challenging, in fact growing up in a disadvantage community often posed many challenges.  Jacob’s mom could not afford to purchase many educational items such as books, crayons, or other materials, and the community head start and early head start had limited resources as well.  The school had resources that was often donated from businesses in the community or from fundraisers.  Instead of focusing on the negative of the situation, Jacob’s teachers were allowed to have fundraisers, organize book drives, and book sharing programs at the school.  Speech is something that is natural, and can only be fostered through different experiences such as talking, listening, reading, or being read to (Reading Rockets, n.d.-b).  Jacob’s teachers were able to show how shared reading experiences is vital to literacy and language development using evidence-based research they learned about in a professional development session.  The research was then presented to the parents through a series of parent meetings given by the teachers, in which Sarah, Jacob’s mom attended that explored literacy and language development in young children.  Research showed children’s exposure to language in the first year of life and during the critical periods of development influences the brain’s neural circuitry for language and literacy development even before infants speak their first words (Kuhl, 2010).

Sarah was excited to learn about how she could help her child at home using resources she already had access to.  These materials included trips to the grocery store and allowing Jacob to state the color, size, and shape of different objects at the store, or ask him to give her ten bananas.  Jacob would pretend to read the word bananas off the sign, when he was actually looking for the yellow banana that he learned about from reading, in pictures, or eating the at school.  These experiences allowed Jacob to engage in language and literacy experiences in his own environment naturally.  Helping Jacob grow, learn, and develop is no longer intimidating for Sarah because of the assistance she received from her child’s teachers.

Colleagues’ Help

I am seeking help from colleagues with the following questions to assist with innovative strategies,

  1. What strategies could be implemented with this toddler that would be free of cost for this family?
  2. How can we engage dad more, and remember he is still in counseling for his anger issues, so we do not want to make his feel left out or as if he is a target?
  3. Any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

 

References

Kuhl, P. K. (2010). Brain mechanisms in early language acquisition. Neuron, 67(5), 713–727. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627310006811.

Reading Rockets. (n.d.-b). Reading together [Video file]. Retrieved September 29, 2015, from http://www.readingrockets.org/shows/launching/roots#description.