Communities of Practice:
I would like to take this opportunity to recommend a number of communities of practice that I believe set themselves apart from the rest in terms of advocacy and anti-bias work. Some of these groups have been in existence for decades, while others are new. Some have a broad range of goals while others are more specific in nature. I have selected the groups with an eye to diversity as well, including both formal communities and social media communities. All of the following are presented because I am personally familiar with each of these communities of practice and can say that they meet my expectations for a commitment to inclusiveness, innovation, and advocacy. Because of my involvement, I have already immersed myself in their mission, their culture, their communication style, their leadership style and their team style.
1. Beach Cities Association for the Education of Young Children (BCAEYC). This is the AEYC Affiliate that I am most fond of. In fact, even when I lived in North-East Los Angeles and worked in West Los Angles – I trekked to the Los Angles South Bay out of respect for this progressive AEYC Affiliate. BCAEYC is arguably the most advocate-oriented AEYC Affiliate around. They have challenged NAEYC’s revised Technology Position Statement, writing an open letter to NAEYC. Along with Anchorage AEYC, they were the first Affiliate to embrace social media, unveiling a MySpace page (before Facebook!). They have written their own position statement on Mud, designed a Mud Curriculum Kit in conjunction with Lakeshore Learning, and held workshops featuring anti-bias and diversity. BCAEYC has a dynamic Board that embraces innovation. To learn more about BCAEYC, visit their web site hosted by Long Beach City College at: http://www.lbcc.edu/childrencenter/BCAEYC.cfm . Their Facebook Group can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/43829027781/
2. Early Education Action League (EEAL): When BCAEYC began challenging the direction of NAEYC, a small group of us began a conversation about starting up a “rogue” association. Response to our Open Letter to NAEYC from respected leaders in the ECE community was encouraging. EEAL is in the very beginning stages. Its community of practice hints at becoming one of the ECE profession’s more progressive elements. EEAL was formed as a way to support open, honest and provocative conversations – unfettered by more formal and institutional associations. EEAL has a Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/search/results.php?q=EEAL&init=quick&tas=0.9120959629910282#!/EarlyEducationActionLeague . Or check out the bog at: http://eealeague.blogspot.com
3. Men In Child Care became a committee within the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC) about a decade ago. Today, the chair of CAEYC’s Men In Child Care Committee is Michael Fritzen. Michael works at the Skirball Museum. The work of the committee included my creation of a Men In Child Care Facebook Group in June of 2011. Today, there are 173 members from around the world, including some very active members from Australia and New Zealand. This is perhaps the social media group with the most vigorous dialogue on male involvement on the internet. https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/195109553871100/
4. Los Angeles County Male Engagement Collaborative is a nascent community of practice which mission is to promote and support male involvement and engagement in the lives of young children throughout the county. This group invites diversity in order to establish a community of practice that includes Head Start, State Preschool, Office of Education, family services, parents, CAEYC, a museum, father involvement agencies, child care resource and referral, etc. This group is something that has developed during my studies at Walden, and I would like to include it in my Capstone Project. To see our blog: http://maleengagementcollaborative.wordpress.com
5. Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee is our local child care planning council. Members represent a cross section of many and diverse programs that serve children and families. This group looks at policy issues such as legislation and budget issues. Discussions include the guidelines for a stipend program for early education professionals in State Funded programs and positions on legislation, as well as conversations on such issues as quality, access, and workforce development. To learn more about the Los Angeles Child County Child Care Planning Committee, visit: http://ceo.lacounty.gov/ccp/ccpc.htm
Jobs on my “Bucket List”:
Not everyone is as passionate about their work as ECE professionals. I have held many jobs working with children and families. I must say that my best experiences have been as an assistant director in a private preschool in Inglewood, CA, as an assistant teacher in a public school preschool in Live Out School District in Santa Cruz, CA, as a youth advocate in a restorative justice program in Santa Cruz, CA, and as a manager at a child care Resource and Referral Agency in Santa Monica, CA.
But there is my “bucket list” of jobs – jobs that I hope to enjoy before I die. Here they are, in no particular order:
• Community College Professor: I would love to have the opportunity to influence the next generation of ECE teachers and leaders. I have very much enjoyed the opportunities that I have had to teach university extension and to guest lecture at Community College and State College classrooms.
• Crossing Guard: Don’t laugh. My greatest wish is that the last job I have is as a crossing guard. I actually pay attention to crossing guards. I notice their passion, their “technique”. I have seen truly horrible crossing guards. They are disinterested – almost as if they are fulfilling a community service requirement for some court order. And I have seen magnificent crossing guards. They greet the children and parents every day with a wonderful attitude and energy. They actually are the faces that begin and end the school day for the children and parents.
• Assistant Director is the best job in ECE. Divide your time between classroom and the administrative duties. Inform the direction of staff development, curriculum, classroom practices, and community engagement. The ideal job.
What I will need:
Once I complete my Master’s Degree, I will have all I need to seek my bucket list jobs – so long as I stay out of mischief. I must at this point admit that I have been arrested for participating in an anti-war demonstration (charges dropped), and have a propensity for speaking my mind vigorously even when it is not in my best interest to do so. As a result, I have encountered some obstacles to employment.
Upon completing my Masters, I will apply for my director permit in California (Child Development Training Consortium, 2009) and also be eligible for consideration as a community college professor.
And yes, I may need to fine tune my people skills. However, I have never put my people skills above my child-skills.
Child Development Training Consortium. 2009. Child development permit matrix with alternative qualification options indicated. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from http://www.childdevelopment.org/cs/cdtc/download/rs/17/matrix.pdf?x-r=pcfile_d