Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Time Well Spent



I had to pay homage to the Late Great Maya Angelou, who without her poems, her words, her story, I would not be the woman I am today. She was a great motivator and speaker and all around woman my Shero!!! She is a Phenomenal Woman and I do consider myself you also Phenomenal Women as well (read the poem, if you have never done so!! You will be inspired).  

This journey has been so wonderful, I have enjoyed myself in this program, even through the ups and downs, the highs and the lows, the wanting to give up at times, but still having the motivation to continue (my 13 and 10 year old daughters were my biggest supporters).  I have taken so much away from this program, but the 3 things I will value the most is learning how to communicate better, collaborate more and advocate harder.  I came out of this program learning more about the different levels of diversity and ways to include everyone.  Before this, diversity meant to me, different races, religions and cultures. Now that I have completed this program I have a vaster knowledge of other diverse lifestyles like the children who live withing the LGBTQ community, how to help children with their own thoughts of self identity, how to utilize resources to bring in more inclusive ideas.  Building upon ways to work on my challenge to bring more anti-bias curriculum and diversity training to my state.  The Foundations in course wit Dr. Lisa Embree, is what set the tone and kept me motivated to continue, Issues and Trends in ECE with Dr. Joyce Meyers gave me the freedom to express from my personal life and perspective how I felt about the issues our children face in society and the injustices we have to continue to fight for. Collaboration and Communications course with Dr. Rosalie Parrish helped me with my communication skills and how to communicate with different types of communicators and our Capstone course with Dr. Kevin Dartt, taught me to research and dig deeper into my challenge, to really focus on the need of my challenge and to express why it should move forward and be a realistic goals to reach and achieve. 

My long term goals are to continue to advocate, be a voice for children and educate early childhood professionals in our field.  I want to be a face in this field and remembered as someone who left a stamp and impression on the early childhood profession.  Our work does not stop here, it is only just beginning!!!

Thank you all for such a wonderful and thought provoking class. Your knowledge, expertise and experience brought so much to the discussions and your feedback was great. It really helped me. Thank you Dr. Dartt for pushing me to think harder and deeper and giving me the feedback you did on my Capstone challenge. Because of this foundation, I have others who are interested in helping me take my challenge to the next level so I am very excited about that.  Congratulations to all of my colleagues, WE DID IT, WE MADE IT!!! I hope you accomplish all of your goals and I hope to see your name and your face in the future because I plan for you to see my name and my face as an advocate for our children. God bless you all.

Contact Information:

Comesha Woods
Email: mrswoods06@yahoo.com
Snapchat: meshathe1nonly
Facebook: Comesha Nichole

Friday, April 14, 2017

Internationally
Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community



The first international organization that interest me was UNICEF.  This program fights for the rights for all children on a global level. They work to provide services for all children that promotes inclusion. UNICEF works to improve policies and services that focuses on protecting all children and not just some.  The job pool is vast when you search the website for employment.  One thing I did notice is that the positions that they post, they are specific in who they want for that position. Some of them did specify that they want someone who lives in the country they are looking to hire for.  I also noticed that depending on where the job is located the vacancy announcement was written in that countries language, so if you are not fluent in the language then you are unable to read what the job entails.  UNICEF has a vast global colloborate of programs and different types of positions.  I do have a Human Service background and have worked in child protective services before. They currently have a Child Protection Specialist Position hiring in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.  They are looking for someone with an advance degree, (Masters degree) in international development, human rights, psychology, sociology, international law, and other social sciences related degrees.  Also at least 5 years in social planning development and management in the field of child protection and other related fields.  Must be fluent in Portuguese and English and knowledge in another UN language.  It also pointed out that this position is also open for competition to Brazilian nationals as well.  There wasn't any information that I could see that detailed what the salary would be or if relocation was paid for by the program or it would be up to the applicant. I can only assume those types of things are discussed only to those who are seriously interested in the position.




Save the children was another international organization that I looked into and to me it is a website to where you can either be a sponsor, a donor and can be a member and stay informed.  The website talks about how they invest in childhood, give children a healthy start where they have the opportunity to learn, protected from harm. Growing up my grandmother was a sponsor for a child  for Feed the Children which is a organization whose headquarters is based here in my home state of Oklahoma. There was some very sketchy issues happening with Feed the Children with the appropriation of funds at one point in time which caused my grandmother to stop donating money to the program. Save the Children reminds me a little of Feed the Children's sponsoring a child initiative, which is an option you can do with Save the Children.  Save the Children website has a link to look for jobs either in the US or Globally.  They have a total of 92 job openings, you have the options to either fill out a general application and attach your resume or you can narrow down your search by choosing a location, program sector, expertise, and division. 



ISSA, International Step by Step Association is a membership organization that functions out of Europe and Central Asia.  It is an international organization that brings knowledgeable educators and members together to make sure that children, especially vulnerable children, have an equal chance at high quality early childhood programs and to develop best practices in the field.  The organization did not have any job opportunities that interested me but I did look at how to become a member by looking at the requirements for membership.  I chose this organization because they are focused on early childhood education and development but focus on the children in their countries.  You can join as an organization that focuses on early childhood development.  Membership fees are based off the current budget that your organization operates from. I am not familiar with how the US dollar translates to European dollars but it looked like the membership fees would be expensive for an organization.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National/Federal Level


Mission Statement: NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

NAEYC has always been a front-runner in equality and justice for children. The Anti-Bias Education model was birthed with the help of NAEYC and Louise Derman-Sparks as its front running advocate. Walden University introduced me to the Anti-Bias movement and has driven that passion in me to continue the work with professionals in the field within my own state. NAEYC will be a very helpful resource in accomplishing this.
NAEYC has internships but they also post job openings for other organizations on their page, this is the link that will get you to those positions: https://www.naeyc.org/about/jobs/overview




Mission Statement: PBS is a membership organization that, with its member stations, serves the American public with programming and services of the highest quality, using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express the diversity of perspectives.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why I did not think of PBS Kids. I just watched 60 minutes a few Sunday’s ago where they talked about how Sesame Street will have their first Autistic character and also their first character who has an incarcerated parent.  PBS has always been a great resource for inclusion and diversity. The website has a lot of job openings; They currently have a paying internship for PBS Education Event they are looking for a Graduate student that is pursuing a degree in Education, Communication or Media Development. The link for this page is: http://www.pbs.org/about/careers/current-openings/



NAME's anti-discrimination statement:
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) is committed to an anti-discrimination policy in all of its programs and services. NAME is consciously and proactively inclusive of all areas of diversity including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sovereign tribal Nations status,  ancestry, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, social class, socioeconomic status, marital status, language, disability, or immigration status.

This organization was one I came across while researching other organizations. They are an association that I could see myself being a part of to utilize the resources and networking to help with the work I would do in the early childhood field.  The jobs that they had listed were more on the higher education level and are very interesting positions to be held.  If anyone is looking for positions that work in diversity this place has some very good positions. The link to the site is: http://www.nameorg.org/index.php

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Mission: Reflecting Oklahoma's commitment to high quality early care and education by providing professional development that produces results!

I worked for the Center for Early Childhood Professional Development from 2013 to 2016; before the budget cut some of the programs that the CECPD housed.  I was part of the ERS Program (Environmental Rating Scale).  CECPD is part of the College for Continued Education at the University of Oklahoma, it's funding comes from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Care Division. CECPD houses the states Registry where it tracks child care professionals training, education and job history. It also houses the Professional Development Approval System, this is where the trainers and training's get approved for the state. DHS Child Care Division funds the software and registry needed to house these different services for the early childhood professionals.  All training's are put into the registry for the professional when they attend by the trainer of the course.  Every year, depending on the Professional Development level you hold, you have to have 20 to 30 hours of training a year.  We have a Professional Development Ladder and a Oklahoma Directors Credential. The CECPD have Registry Advisers that help with customer service and Program Specialist that help with customer service with the Trainers and for the training's offered.  The link to see the website for CECPD is: https://www.cecpd.org/.  To see job openings you have to go to the University of Oklahoma Website under the Human Resources tab for employment and look for Registry Adviser positions under the Center for Early Childhood Professional Development.


Mission: All Oklahoma families have access to quality care and education for their children through community-based resource and referral services.

Each area of the state has a resource and referral office they can utilize.  It is set up for families to use to help them find available and affordable childcare, it is also set up for childcare providers to utilize for technical assistance to help new child care providers become licensed to be a child care facility, resource rooms to utilize to help professionals with resource and materials in their childcare programs. Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral also helps professionals locate appropriate and approved training courses and may help with funding training courses by using vouchers.  The link to the website is: https://www.oklahomachildcare.org/. I am unsure if this organization is hiring at this point. I did not see any job postings on the website.



Mission:  The Scholars for Excellence in Child Care program ensures that eligible child care professionals in the state of Oklahoma have an opportunity to attend a technology center or community college to further their education while earning a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, Certificate of Mastery, Director’s Certificate of Completion, and/or an associate degree in child development.

The Scholars for Excellence program is who the program I currently work for.  Our Scholarship funds 70% of tuition and fee's, 100% of textbooks. The student has to be currently working in childcare at the same facility for 6 months or longer, work 30 hours per week or more and make less than $15.50 or less an hour.  The childcare facility they work for has to have at least 10% subsidy of enrollment. If the facility takes subsidy but doesn't quite have 10% we have a justification letter the Director of the program signs for the student.  I am the Coordinator of this program at Oklahoma City Community College.  We have 8 Scholar Coordinators in the State of Oklahoma at 7 community colleges.  We have contracts with all the community colleges in the state that have a Child Development Associates Degree program.  We also have contracts with 5 Career Tech Centers that provide the Pathways to your CDA courses. The link to the website is: http://www.okhighered.org/scholars/options.shtml.
There is a job opening for a Scholarship Administrator.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Reflecting on Learning





Wow....wow....wow!!! That is all I can say when reflecting on what I can describe is the most enjoyable course plan I have had the privilege to be a part of.  To look back over the course of a year and a half of taking courses, gaining knowledge, very insightful and rich conversation with like minded professionals, has been a wonderful experience.  To hear the different scenarios and issues that others have faced and to be able to give a professional perspective to help your colleagues come up with appropriate solutions that are aligned with best practices is so rewarding.  The different courses that gave me so many different ways to look at cultural diversity in early childhood and to look at it from different aspects.  The Foundations in Early Childhood Studies course had me so excited for this program and to think that I am one more class away from being completed with this program. 

My hope for my future is to take what I have learned and gained and share it with those professionals who do not get the opportunity to be able to really see how implementing diversity is so essential in making sure they have a well rounded and inclusive early childhood program.  Being able to bring some current resources and best practice tools to the field is something that excites me and for the state I live in, having someone such as myself that can write up training modules and curriculum to present that I believe will be appreciated and reciprocated for our professionals is such a great feeling.  I am so ready to see what doors will open once I obtain this degree.

I would like to thank all of my colleagues and Dr. Bird-Pickens for such an enriching past 8 weeks. Some of the topics we discussed really took us to different places and situations that we could eventually come across but I feel confident that we are all able to look back, think on the lessons learned and take what we have gained and implement it effectively. I do wish all of you continued success in the future, I hope you continue to be blessed and highly favored and remember this, You can do all things through Christ that strengthens you..Philippians 4:13. A scripture that I live by everyday.

Sincerely,

Comesha Woods

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Impacts on Early Emotional Development

West and Central Africa


I chose this area because my college has a lot of students from this area and one has worked in the child development center and lab school at the college.  We also had one of the best NBA players from this area on our team recently and he did a lot of charity work here in our city for his people back home.  Serge Ibaka shined light on the issues going on in his home country. There is so much unrest and health issues going on in this country.

This region has the most maternal mortality rate in the world, the natural process of giving birth is a life and death situation in this region.  Half the population lives below the poverty line, Civil war is forcing the people of this region to consistently have to move to different areas, sexual assault among children is very high and girls are forced to marry as early as 14 years of age.  Child protection systems are non existent in the region and there are not enough resources or government involvement to help coordinate a reliable system for the protection of children. Children do not have the basic medical needs to even receive vaccinations.  Children are having to raise themselves and thier siblings because of the high death of parents due to HIV.  Lets not forget the militias who recruit young children into the war and have them kill for them.

As a professional I can not even fathom the emotional impact their living conditions have on them.  The many issues have been going on for so long in this region that this is a normal way of life, even though it should not be. Education is not a very important factor in this region, as a matter of fact the females get it the worse if they pursue an education. The females get raped and abused if they go to school.  The emotional development of these children can only be described as a dismal one, with no available resources there isn't anyone that can help them get through these hard times other than the community they live in. The feelings that no one cares, or that they do not have a choice can be a disheartening one.



UNICEF (2016).  West and Central Africa.  https://www.unicef.org/wcaro/english/



Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Sexualization of Early Childhood

So this specific topic brought back some stories that my now 12 year old daughter told me when she was in elementary school.  When she was in fourth grade she told me that one of her friends was dating a boy in the 4th grade and that both of their parents would take turns taking them out on dates!?!?!?!  I was beyond shocked, I was like parents consenting to taking their fourth grade children out on dates. My parents wouldn't even let me date until I was 15 years old. Even at 12 having boys as friends, I was looked at crazy.  I wasn't even allowed to wear makeup until I was 15 years old.  My now 9 year old when she was in 1st grade she had a classmate whose mother let her wear foundation, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick and blush to school...FIRST GRADE!!! I was like really, is this what parents are allowing these days. I won't even let my oldest wear colored lip gloss, it has to be nude, the only thing it better do is shine and moisturize.

When you see images such as these in fashion magazines, little girls dressed like grown women and wearing more make up than I do on a daily basis, it is really sad to see this.  Why would parents subject their children to this form of subjection. The show on TLC "Toddlers and Tiaras," is a show that I refuse to watch, I have friends who watch and talk about it but some of the pictures and commercials I have seen of these little girls in pageants really hurts my heart.  What type of message is this showing our children, that we have to look a certain way to be pretty and accepted.  Another thing that I do not agree with is the social media videos of parents posting their little girls twerking and girating and thinking that it is cute.  I have seen little girls with more weave than I have every wore and I don't even let my own children wear hair extensions, because they have their own beautiful hair that is theirs and natural. The authors of the article, "So Sexy So Soon,"  made a point that parents are blamed and made to feel at fault if their child is sexualized, but even when you try they are still exposed to it (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). I am one of those parents that no matter how hard I try I still get questions about "what this is?" and "what does this mean?" and "why would my friend say this?" and "what did my friend mean by that?" or lets not forget the movies that have those hidden jokes that only parents would understand and children are like, "what was so funny?"  

Luckily my daughters are a lot like me, we embrace our individuality and have very high self-esteem. I teach my daughters that what others think of them is not important because they know who they are and they have to be happy with who they are at the end of the day. I also teach my daughters to be themselves, leaders and not followers.  My 12, soon to be 13 year old is like any normal preteen but she loves fashion, and she has her own unique style that I do love and encourage and it doesn't involve her showing any skin, or caking on makeup. I believe if we teach our children to be individuals and let them know they are loved, and are beautiful just the way they are and that it is all about self-worth that our children will be able to tell the difference and know that what is being shown on tv is purely unrealistic and not the norm for the majority.  We are living in a world where sex sells and companies will do what they have to do no matter who it affects and how it effects children. Advertising agencies and reality tv do not care how what they show is negative as long as what they are selling sells.  

As professionals in the field, we have a hard job as it is and to make sure that the children we teach are getting a solid foundation we have to make sure we are partnering with our parents and talking with them.  If we see something in class that concerns us, that we know a child either heard or seen, we must bring it to the attention to the parent so that we can understand what is going on at home.  Being an observer I have observed some very interesting dramatic play, and usually it isn't harmful, but sometimes we hear things that we should not from a 4 or 5 year old. When I hear a child sing songs that i wouldn't even sing I immediately have to address it and let the child know that the song is not appropriate and explain to them why it is not a child friendly song. I have had those difficult conversations with parents, and at times the parents didn't see any harm in it, but when I addressed the fact that their child can sing word for word a song they should not be listening to but can not recite their letters, or sounds then that light bulb goes off in their head.  Communication is key in reducing the negative effects this current society may have on our children in this oversexualized world we live in.

Reference

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