When I first began the masters in early childhood studies program through Walden about two years ago, I was very overwhelmed. When I looked at the list of courses, the time and effort it would take, and all of the requirements need in order to retain the degree, I was not sure how I would be able to balance everything that I had going on in my life such as work, school, children, my children’s school work, family, and all the other obligations that I have. There were many days when I would come home after a stressful and long day of working with children, parents, and employees. School work was the last thing that I wanted to focus on, but I am that I stuck it out. A big part of me is glad that I am almost well a few assignments away from being done with the program because I will time to settle down and not be some overwhelmed with school. The other part of me is uncertain because I’m not sure what my next step should be. Some major questions that have seemed to running across my mind is do I continue on with school and enter into the doctorate program or should I stop and take some time off. The mountain is a representation of the sacrifice, challenges, how I had to continue to climb to reach the success that I have in my career and life.
We were asked to share three things that we learned from our course of study.
I have learned so much from my classmates that I have made a connection with because of this program. I have made connections with people that I have exchanged numbers and other information with. In the end we have all played some part in the others’ growth and development in this field. I have learned so much information through our discussions and blogs posts. In our Trends in Early Childhood course, we were asked to make connections with different people who work in the field from different parts of the world. I learned that many parts of the early childhood systems in other countries are somewhat similar to our own. Early childhood professionals continue to struggle to be accepted, valued, and recognized for the important work that we do. In most cases, we need to fund our own studies or professional development opportunities. There is also concern about what is considered to developmentally appropriate. Children around the world do not get to play as much and are forced into learning and they are not ready for at younger and younger ages. We also have similar concerns for budgeting and paying quality teachers much need salaries.Through blogging, I have found like minded educators throughout the country and around the world. Their posts and ideas have been informative and have influenced the work I have done in my own classroom. It is amazing how technology has impacted and changed so much and how it continues to connect us in different ways with people we would never had any contact with.
Throughout the program, I have really learned what it means to actually do research.
In our research competencies course, I had designed a research simulation on infant friendships. Before I never had an understanding how to properly read a research article or that there was a specific way or method to do so. I also didn’t understand the concepts involved in designing a research study, but completing the simulation made it clearer. If there was not so thing as researchers, we would not have the necessary and informative information that we are currently using to guide our practices with children. I learned that we are in our way researchers we are doing some type of research every day when we are being asked questions and try to find the answers. When we experiment with new materials, techniques, and even new activity in our own classrooms, we are still doing research. I want to continue to encourage children that I will work with over my whole career to become research and acquire learning by experimenting and asking questions.
Last but not least, I learned that play is essential for development.
This concept is not news to me, but my research especially what I found in this capstone class strengthened my belief that early childhood programs should be play based. Play keeps children physically and mentally healthy. Through play children learn about relationships, differences, empathy, and playing role play. Play helps children process both good and bad events that occur in their lives. Play even helps children learn those important math, science, social studies, gross and fine motor skills, as well as literacy concepts that lay the foundation that is necessary to be successful in school. One of my goals would be to advocate for play and acceptance (diversity). This capstone course has helped me develop a way to do that.
To end this blog post, I want to personally thank all of my classmates for being supportive, sharing their experiences and life lessons along this long journey. It has been an honor to build relationships with each and every one of you. I want to thank all of the professors for making this a learning process that can really help us in this important field we are in. I also want to say thank you to Dr. Dartt for pushing and pushing me to think more and more and giving me the necessary feedback to make my Capstone challenge even better. Because of the feedback, input, and suggestions, I have others who are focusing and willing to help me to take on this challenge. I am so excited about this! I wish nothing but the best to all of you. I hope you continue to reach for the stars. If any of you would like to keep in touch with me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that we can keep in touch and continue to be a part of the growing and learning in this field.
Can you please let me know if you are going to move on into the doctorate program or if this is the last stop?