Early Childhood Education for All (by Guest Blogger Maggie Donaldson)

IMG_0367Introduction:

How can our state provide more accessible and affordable early childhood education? I chose to write to Jada Ruley, who is the first appointed director of Early Learning Services in Oregon. I decided to do this because this is a new program that is being talked about in our state/nation and I want to offer support in the community of early childhood education not only nationally but also locally.

Culminating Project (Part 1):

1. Research Question: How can our state provide more accessible and affordable early childhood education?

2. The Research Collection:

Step 1: Being More Knowledgeable About the Current Conversation.

Periodicals:

– Upward Mobility. Zakaria, Fareed.

– Preparing Teachers for the Early Grades. Bornfreund, Laura.

– Oregon Offers high-cost Preschool, Causing it to Ration Seats to Just 10 Percent of 4-year olds. Hammond, Betsy.

– The Oregon Community Foundation

– Whitehouse.gov

Academic:

– Assessing Policy Effects on Enrollment in Early Childhood Education and Care. Greenberg, Joy Pastan.

– An Intervention to Increase Early Childhood Staff Capacity for Promoting Children’s Social-Emotional Development in Preschool Settings. Green, Beth.

– Universal Preschool’s Promise: Success in Early Childhood and Beyond. Lasser, Jon.

Step 2: Making Your Individual Research Collection on Your Research Question.

1. Green, L. Beth, and Anna M. Malsch. “An Intervention to Increase Early Childhood             Staff Capacity for Promoting Children’s Social-Emotional Development in   Preschool Settings.” Early Childhood Education Journal. Portland: Springer             Science+Business Media, LLC. 2001. Web.

Summary: This was a study done at two head start programs, which were compared in the results. It was an experiment to see the outcomes of new ideas implemented in the preschool setting to help children with their social and emotional skills. The teachers were given more in-depth training programs to help children in a positive way by “reconstructing existing early childhood mental health consultation services, engaging programs in a mental health-specific strategic planning, providing training to program staff in early childhood mental health best practices, and implementing staff wellness activities to promote a healthy organizational culture.” (1 Green.) The results were positive not only for the students but for the staff.

Commentary: I think this article is a great way to show that there are multiple benefits to early childhood education not just “getting a child ready” for kindergarten. It also shows that with support for the teachers and students there is a much high success rate in the school setting.

2. Hammond, Betsy. “Oregon Offers high-cost Preschool, Causing it to Ration Seats to  Just 10 Percent of 4-Year-Olds.” OregonLive. OregonLive. 2013. Web. 25 May. 2013.

Summary: Because of the high cost of preschool, in the state of Oregon, only 7% of 4-year olds are going to educational programs a year. This makes Oregon number 30 out of 40 states that present these programs to their local communities. Governor Kitzhaber has hired Jada Rupley, who is the first director of early learning services in Oregon. They are committed to improving early childhood education accessibility.

Commentary: This is relevant to my theme and question because it gives me a good idea of who to write to in my public writing peace and it also relates to the community around us. I am so glad that this topic is being talked about and perused in our community.

3. Lasser, Jon, and Kathleen Fite. “Universal Preschool’s Promise: Success in Early  Childhood and Beyond.” Early Childhood Education Journal. San Marcos.  Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011. Web.

Summary: This is an article showing the positive benefits of early childhood education. The argument is that there should be “university” type preschools for public education at an early age. The article focuses on changing financial problems, student-teacher ratios, and new approaches to education.

Commentary: This relates to my theme because it gives an affective way to provide public early childhood education for our nation. It also talks about the down falls that are happening in education, which is something we always need to look at so we can improve early education standards.

4. Zakaria, Fareed. “Upward Mobility.” Time. 181.8 (2013): 14. Web

Summary: This article is about President Obama’s proposal for early childhood education. He would like to get to a place where American families who are at or below $47,000 per year in income should be eligible for high quality education at an early age.

Commentary: This source is relevant because this could be a wonderful stepping-stone for early education. This would not only help our nation but also the local communities around our country. It is great to see as an early childhood educator that there is discussion going on in the White House about this subject.

 

3.

– Would you be willing to have an increase in taxes to help fund public preschool?

– If not, what ideas can you think of to help fund this very important program?

– Are my articles good sources to support my research question?

– Do you think $47,000 is too low or too high of an income for people to be eligible for public preschool? Benefits unreachable?

 

4. Now after doing my research I want to write a letter to Jada Rupley, the director of early learning services, from the OregonLive article. I would like to write her a letter in the mail giving her support in this movement and also to offer help in anyway I can. I would also like to ask questions such as; how can we as community members support public preschool? What are your ideas on funding these programs? What philosophies are you going to use? What requirements will be required for teachers to have?

 

Culminating Project (Part II):

IMG_0132State Capital Building

900 Court Street NE

Salem, OR 97301

(503) 378-6821

 

June 5th, 2013

Dear Ms. Jada Rupley,

My name is Maggie Donaldson. I am a 26-year-old who was born and raised in Northeast Portland. I am a student at Marylhurst University and am a Montessori guide for the ages of birth to six years old. Being an active student, we are encouraged to write a leader in our local or national community about a topic that is important to us. For me, that is early childhood education.

As a registered voter I take pride in the process of voting and having my voice be heard. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a helping hand in establishing and developing new ideas for early childhood education, specifically in our state.

Being a Montessori guide, I see the daily importance of early childhood education not only for the community, but also for the families and especially the children. I truly believe that we as adults have to stand up for these young minds and encourage all children to learn and to build a foundation of knowledge.

I have a few questions to ask you in regard to early learning in our state; what ideas have come up about funding public preschools? What educational philosophies would you like to implement into our classrooms? And finally, how are we going to provide early education for all young children?

I am so thrilled to see that Governor Kitzhaber has elected you to be the first director of Early Learning Services in Oregon. I would like to be involved in the community forums and events that will be happening in the future. I think your mission is one that should be acknowledged and encouraged throughout our state. With saying all of this, I would like to offer my support as a citizen of Oregon in the struggle to improve programs and provide accessibility to early learning to all young children and families.

 

Sincerely,

Maggie Donaldson

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