Pursing an Advanced Degree
I made the choice to pursue and advanced degree later than most. I did not decide completely and set my mind to it until I was in my mid 20’s. by then I had received my Bachelors, and the joy and sense of empowerment I got after receiving my diploma, gave me the courage I needed to continue my education. I finally realized a Doctoral degree is something I could actually achieve rather than dream. I stopped doubting myself. Within a month of finish my Bachelors, I was enrolled in my master’s program.
I was not a stellar student through Jr. High or even High school. I was confident that I was smart and knowledgeable, but the topics being taught did not speak to me. I needed to find my passion, to find the topic that spoke to me. I did not find that until after high school. I found who I was supposed to be or rather my profession found me after the birth of my first child. The thought of leaving him in someone else’s care while I worked was heart wrenching to me, so I decided to stay home with him and work. I opened a home daycare by the time he was six months old. The birth of my second child is when I realized I wanted more for myself, I wanted to educate myself further in the development of children, I wanted to do that through college courses rather than on the job experience and reading research and books on my own. I wanted to show my children that continued education is important.
By my third child I had closed the daycare and opened a preschool program outside of my home. Then with two degrees under my belt and a new business that brought to light so many more debates, issues and controversies in Early Childhood Education, I began dabbling more into advocacy.
My work in advocating for Early Childhood Education lead me to seeking the advanced degree. Along with my years of on the job experience I want that college degree to say to people, “she knows what she is talking about, you need to hear her out.” This advance degree also sets me apart from other Preschool programs in my community. It shows new families looking for preschools that I have gone above and beyond, that I am highly qualified to teach their child.
This advanced degree also opens more doors for me professionally. As one day, I would like to work in higher education. I would like to share my knowledge and experiences with others entering the field of Early Childhood Education.
Three issues of interest to me in Education
Cognitive/Academic Vs. Whole Child Approach
The Cognitive/Academic emphasis vs. the Whole Child Approach speaks to me in hat everyday as I teach my preschoolers and create my lesson plan, I know that the approach I take with my students is not how it will be for them when they enter into the K-12 public school system. A system focused more on Cognitive and Academic growth rather than a whole child approach, a place focused on and centered around common core methods. I use assessments on my students, and observe them, I believe in doing so because it helps me to better scaffold their learning. I must know what they know in order to continue to plan for them. My assessments are built into our day and from the casual observer would just look like a conversation between teacher and student. My students have no Idea I am assessing them; they believe we are just playing a game together. There is no pressure to preform, no pressure to meet goals they are not ready for, and goal that are not developmentally appropriate. I always have to keep in mind that every child will get they’re in their own time, and in their own way. Pushing them will not help, it is what my personal downfall was in school. They wanted me to hurry up and learn so we could move on to the next skill or topic. I was always moving at that common core pace and not my own. I eventually got left in the dust.” The goal of preschool education is greater school readiness.” (Zigler, 2015) I take the side of the whole child approach in my preschool program, and I believe my students are happier, healthier (mentally and physically), and more prepared to enter elementary school.
Ensuring quality and accountability in preschool programs
Currently every state has their own set guidelines for early childhood and preschool programs. There are no universal standards. Standards are set by the states themselves. So, what a preschool education looks like varies from state to state. The current standards set for the state of Colorado, far exceed the level of standards set by the state of Wyoming. How do we bring all states up to par? How do we make sure those who are teaching in preschools are properly trained to do so, and that they continue to receive proper professional development?
As advocates work to bring the importance of Early childhood education to light for those who don’t understand its impact, we have to consider how do we get policy makers and parents alike to see the effects of a quality Early childhood education? We need more outside the profession to see its impact, so that they continue to place value in it.
How do we ensure universal quality throughout the united states? What needs to be put in place to safeguard against programs that are not developmentally appropriate? There is a lack of accountability nation wide for programs teaching our youngest children. We need to change that.
Public Schools only Vs. other sites
The world of education is a hot topic, the education system is complex and differs greatly depending on where you live. With more states now offering preschool programming in their public schools, we have to ask the question, is this the best place for our preschoolers? Are they better in a private setting? This topic intertwines with the topic of ensuring quality and accountability and raises some of the same questions.
Quality, curriculum, teacher training, etc. It can be said that often times there is less bureaucracy in a private setting so there is more instructions time for students. That in private settings more involvement in required of the parents, which in turn shows students that this is important to their parents, that their education matters to them.” Decades of research has now indicated that the more involved parents are in their children’s schooling, the better the children’s educational performance.” (Zigler, 2015) It gives more bonding time for parents and students. Public is often defined by the fact that it is free, so it is a choice for parents with no other choice, but it doesn’t always mean quality. There are so many pro’s and cons to both choices. How does a parent decide what is best for their child? How do we provide the best care and education for children that we can, and where is the best place to do it, public or private? It is a hot button debate for me, one I am close to as a private school owner, that believes in public education for all ECE students.
Two goals I hope to accomplish by obtaining my degree
I would like to expand my preschool program to be able to serve more young children. I would like the new program to be able operate, while providing quality education to all socioeconomic backgrounds. I would like to take my private program and what I have developed there to a larger demographic. My state currently has no large stake or rush to provide the quality care our youngest children deserve so I would like to provide it to the best of my ability, to the largest number of students I can, until my state catches up and realizes its importance.
I would also like to take a larger stand in advocating for Early childhood education in my state. I have always been an advocate, but I do not feel I am heard. I feel I am brushed off because they see me as “just a preschool teacher”. For those who do not see the value in Early Education, they in turn do not see the value in me or my profession. I feel a Doctoral degree gives me that leg up, that maybe more people will listen, and hear out my concerns. I hope to bring the state of Wyoming up to par and aligned with our bordering states and even nationally when it comes to the education of our youngest children.
I believe that by delving in and pursuing the above listed topics and can bring positive change to my profession. Researching these topics makes me a better advocate, and a better teacher. Advocating is the first step in change. I also believe the research on these topics makes me a better teacher. I am better able to support my students and their families. By, concentrating my time on researching the best way to move forward in providing exceptional and quality programming that fits all, I am providing for not only myself, but also my community. Change begins with one person choosing to do so.
References Zigler, E. P. (2015). The Pre-k Debates: Current Controversies & Issues. Baltimore: Paul H Brookes Publishing.
Abby Lazarus Ms.Ed.
Current Doctoral Student. Masters in Early Childhood Studies. Bachelors in Child Development. !3 years professional experience in Early Childhood.
So if you are reading this blog post you are considering opening up a part time preschool program in your community. I'm thinking you have probably thought this through you are already past the soul searching stage and you are ready to get started but you're not exactly sure where to start.
Opening a part time preschool is not going to be an overnight deal. You have to begin with asking yourself questions; A LOT of questions! You need to write these questions down. Here are a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself and researching the answers to.
I hope that my post is helping to walk you through the steps that you are going to need to take to start your own preschool. I know that I can't get too specific with you because they don't know where you live an every state is going to be different the specific rules sat by each state differ so greatly that all I can do is give you a general outline of some of the questions you're going to need to find the answers to to help you get started on your business plan. I hope that this post was able to help you get the ball rolling and give you some ideas of questions you needed to be asking yourself and finding the answer to. I would be happy to answer any questions you have please feel free to reach out.
As you see affiliate ads throughout or website and post, please know we receive a small compensation to our website, at no cost to you. Thank you for reading!
11. Make Rings
12. Make Finger Puppets
13. Staple a small paper with a number written on it, on top of a pipe cleaner, have children add the correct number of beads to the pipe cleaner.
14. Make funky glasses to wear for the day.
15. Form pipe cleaners into circles and play ring toss! Toss onto an empty paper towel tube.
This site uses affiliate links, if you chose to click an ad our site receives a small compensation at no cost to you. Thank you for reading!
The need for quality Early Childhood Education is needed in many places throughout the country and even the world. The center for American Progress states that in Wyoming with more than 65% of households having both parents working outside of the home it has become incredibly important for families to have options that are affordable, high quality and programs that will effectively prepare there children to enter into kindergarten and to succeed.
When a child receives positive early learning experiences this leads to healthy growth and development in all areas, and helps to lay the foundation in which all other education is based upon. Thus making Early childhood education incredibly important to the development of every child. Unfortunately this crucial time period, the first five years of a child’s life is often overlooked by people outside of the education profession.
The Instructional foundations for kindergarten summary report released by the Wyoming Department if Education states that only 52% of kindergartners had a kindergarten readiness level of “proficient”. Students who start behind, stay behind, and mostly likely will never catch up. The only way to improve this is to better prepare our students before they enter into kindergarten, meaning we need more quality preschools for our children under the age of 5.
Statistically before the age of five Children's brains, their personalities and their intellect are 85% developed, this according to the Wyoming Department of Education. Children who grow up in home with parents whom are less educated will them selves by 18 months already fall behind their peers with better educated households. It has been discovered that to produce the highest return on the dollar comparing it to all other investments we receive the highest return from early childhood education. Not higher education and job training, this proving the need for quality and wide spread affordable Early childhood education experiences for our children between birth and five years.
Wyoming Kids First mission is “To lead a public-private partnership in the development of an accessible and sustainable, high-quality early childhood system that supports communities and families.” (Wyokidsfirst.org,2018) The vision of the group is to make sure that all children in Wyoming live and learn in safe environments. Environments that will help them to succeed not only in school but in their futures. This agency has a broad reach over the state Of Wyoming, they are aware of all the programs and personnel in the state. They are already advocates and fight for change to early childhood education within the state. They would be a great source of knowledge for an advocate, they can put you in touch with others in the community who are already fighting for such change as well as help to navigate the path of being a new advocate.
Early Learning in Wyoming: 2017 (Publication). (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2018, from Center for American Progress website: https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/07/19101219/2017ECFS_WY.pdf
Wyoming Department of Education (2009) Instructional Foundations for Kindergarten Summary.
http://wyokidsfirst.org/ Retrieved June 29th,2018
This Post contains Affiliate links, if clicked upon our site receives a small compensation at no cost to you. Thank you for reading!
It is normal to change things in the classroom over the years. Your classroom grows and changes with you. You take on new stuff, you purge old things. The classroom is ever changing (if you are doing your job right) as you learn as a teacher, everything about your teaching style, your curriculum, you classroom routine, changes. Change is good! Change is FUN!
I am FINALLY painting my classroom after 7 years of the same color, and I am so excited. Not so much about the actual painting part...but about the change. I am almost done painting, and even after finishing just the first coat of paint on the first wall, I knew the room was brighter and better. I knew the parents and the kids were going to love it!
As I paint, I am taking things down off the walls, keeping, storing and purging. I am getting reorganized and prepared for a new school year and a new classroom. Even a new me, I am taking all of the new things I have learned through my students and applying them to how I want my classroom to look and run next school year.
Many of my students next year are returning students. I have read so many things through out my years as an Early childhood student and teacher. That children need consistency, don't make major changes to the classroom, it unsettles the children. My students have come to learn change is good, they kind of have to. Throughout the school year we do change things. The room has to fit the children in the room. What works for last years students wont work for this years and sometimes things change month to month, week to week or day to day. Our classroom evolves with the children in the room. It changes with their interests. It changes when there are issues and two activities are not working well in close proximity. There are so many reasons for change. Yes, it does take some adjusting on everyone's parts, but that is OK. We are teaching our students that change can be good, and showing them the proper way to handle and deal with change. So I say, go forth and create some change in your classroom, help it to fit and work for the people in the room!
As a teacher you know one of the most important and stressful times in a parents life can be choosing the right school for their child. This post is about the best way to support them as they are on the search for a quality program for their child.
1. Make them feel welcome. Invite them in! I am not big on scheduling visits, but then again I own the school and make my own rules. If you are in a school that requires a parent to pre-schedule, then so be it! Invite them in, they want to see you at work. Show them attention answer their questions, listen to them, but keep working to show you know what the heck you are doing!
2. Don't be fake! Be yourself! You cannot fool a parent! Also, lets be real, if you have to fake being a nice person, WHY ARE YOU TEACHING PRESCHOOL?!?
3. Realize that you are not everyone's cup of tea, and that is OK. Tell them about your self, give them some background. Tell them why you are a teacher. Give them your teaching philosophy, goals, or mission right there in person!
4. Make sure to give any literature your school hands out, Business cards, brochures, and a website or Facebook page for them to look at.
5. TALK TO THEIR CHILD! Ask the child to join your class, ask the child questions, show an interest in the child! You should honestly be interested in this child! You both need to feel each other out.
6. If only one parent can make it, let them know you would be happy to meet with the other parent, when he or she has the time.
7. Show them around your classroom, point out the areas where they can find parent information.
8. Give them a run down of everything you do in class, whats the class schedule?
9. Show them your teaching credentials, if you don't have a notebook of your training's and certificates, you need to make one NOW!
10. Ask them to feel free to contact you personally if they have any questions after they leave. Coming to a new place can be overwhelming with all that is going on. They may think of something they were meaning to ask after they leave. Let them know its ok, it happens and you WANT them to contact you if they think of something.
11. Take their information. Send a follow up email, Thanking them for coming in and again extending the opportunity for them to call if they have anymore questions.
Good luck! Meeting new parents is parent of running, owning or being a preschool teacher. This is something that has to, and will be done all year long. Some people hear about you and get such a solid recommendation that by the time they make it to visit you they want paperwork to sign up! Others just found you online or on a list of preschools, either way, be prepared!
This post contains affiliate links, if clicked our site receives a small compensation at no cost to you. Thank you for reading!
In my first few years of teaching preschool I did not do a graduation ceremony. About 5 years ago a parent said to me "please do a ceremony, I'll pay for it." She really wanted to see that moment, she wanted pictures. I went home to reflect and ultimately decided to do a ceremony. I of course did not have her pay for it, but I did however charge parents a small fee to help pay for the cost of a location and the gowns. I believe the fee was $15. While this fee did not cover everything, it did help offset the cost. Every year I pay around $80-$150 for the location and any other supplies needed.
I have done the ceremony, outdoors in a local park with and end of the year picnic, at the local library and the botanic gardens.
We ordered our caps and gowns from AlphabetU.com, I actually ordered these after doing light research on the quality. We were absolutely please with the product, and then a year or two after ordering we were in LA for the NAEYC conference and Alphabet u had a booth at the conference. The representatives in the booth let us know that Alphabet u, color matches each fabric. So if you order some one year and end up needing more 5 years later, they will match in color! The have quite an extensive selection of graduation supplies. It's a great catalog to start having be sent to your school.
We keep our caps and gowns for reuse. We wash and steam them every year before we use them again. We do give the parents the option to buy the cap or gown if they so choose. We give each child their tassel on their hat as a keep sake. So we have to order tassels every year. But the cost is really not to bad.
Depending on the kids in the room we do something fun, like sing a song to the parents, dance down the isle, etc. nothing elaborate. I let the kids decide, we make it all about them!
Give a speech, thank the children, thank the parents for their support. Call their names and have them come up to receive their diploma and give them a hug!
Make sure to leave lots of time to chat with parents and take pictures!
Sometime I do a slideshow for parents to watch as they are taking there seats, I on'y do this if we are in a space that has a projector.
The most important thing is to plan what you are comfortable planning and plan for something that will make the kids happy. This is there moment, they should be in on all the decision making!
Abby Lazarus M.Ed.
Over 13 years in the ECE profession. A bachelors in Child Development and a Masters in Early Childhood Studies.
Choosing a preschool for your child is a big decision. It is a hard decision. You want to protect them and be sure that the people you are entrusting their care to are NORMAL, trustworthy; and not a lunatic, or WORSE!
It is not easy to leave your child with someone. It is the first REALLY hard thing we have to do as a parent. Honestly, the only reason we do it is that; yes we know we love them, but we also don't want them living with us for the rest of their lives! So, this is the first step to helping your child grow and learn!
Ask around, get recommendations, if you just moved to an area and don't know anyone yet, find a Facebook group and ask there. You want a licensed place so call the local Department of Family Services office to inquire about preschools and what specifically you are looking for as far as times and days. Next, you are going to need to get in that car and drive! You HAVE got to visit these places, you need to walk through the door and meet the staff, take a look at the other children, see how clean the place is. (I'm not talking toys, there should be toys everywhere, I'm talking does it look sanitary?!)
Are you greeted with respect? Are the teachers rude to you or each other? Do the children seem comfortable with the teacher? Does the teacher show you around but still stay engaged with you AND the children? The teacher should continue to do her job and answer your questions, she should not ignore her students and give you full attention. Does she/he include your child? Does she/he talk to your child and ask questions?
You need to be prepared with questions! You can never have too many questions! Pre-plan, write them down. This is an important decision. Do your homework, look into the program, check their website. A preschool should NEVER seem put out by answering your questions. When I meet parents and they ask a lot of questions I know that these are the parents that are invested in their child's education and the ones who truly believe in Early Childhood Education and its importance in a child's life.
How do you feel about the teacher? Do you think the teacher is being honest? Is he or she being their true self? Do you get good vibes? Do you feel like you could be friends with this person? For your choice in preschool to work, you must feel like the teachers and the program share the same values as you!
Make sure to ask if parents are welcome? Are you allowed to volunteer? Are you required to volunteer?
How will teachers contact you? How can you contact teachers? Is there a school app, website, Facebook page, email address or phones numbers you need to know of?
When you visit, take a friend if your spouse cannot go with you. If your spouse has to work, ask at your visit if it would be ok to come back for another visit when your spouse is available.
Feel free to make it know you are looking around at other schools. Because you should be! You can't just visit one and know it's for you, shop around! This is a big decision!
Bottom line, this is important. Your child going to preschool is important. Do your research, you need to feel good about this decision. Choose a place not just for your child, but for you as well. Does the school make you feel good? Trust your guts!
This post contains affiliate links which provides a small compensation for our website at no cost to you! Thank you for reading!
Abby Lazarus M.Ed.
Masters in Early Childhood Studies, Bachelors in Child Development and 13 years in the ECE profession.
Working at home with your Preschooler
It is imperative to your preschooler’s academic growth for you to be working with them on preschool skills at home. They need consistency between school and home. They need to regularly practice their skills to master them and be able to move on to new skills.
Support your child by reading to them EVERYDAY. It is not just a saying, reading daily does make you smarter! Also, correct their speech, if they mispronounce a word correct them, don’t allow them to believe it is cute, it will eventually become an issue, correct it while you can.
Talk,Talk,Talk to your child. Repeat what they say to you, talk all day long to them. The more you talk the more they talk. If you have nothing to say, turn on music and sing with them.
If you don’t know what your child needs to be working on at home, please ask a teacher. We know and would be happy to email you a personalized list of items your child needs to practice.
Continue to stay involve, ask questions, we like questions! It is important for you to understand where your child is at academically so you can continue to support and advocate for them. Don’t assume they know something. You may be surprised to find out what they do and do not know.
We are here for you! Thank you for your dedication to your preschooler!
I have honestly found that the more I educate myself the more I am able to offer my students. The more growth I see in my students. This comes from consistently working towards bettering myself. Where I live it is not a requirement for me to have a degree to be a preschool teacher. However, I know that the more educated I am, the better I am equipped to educate my students.
Therefore, it was important to me to get my master’s degree, I knew I was not just helping myself but also, my family, my friends, my business, my preschoolers and their families. Educating one’s self is not just for that person receiving the education but also for the betterment of the community as a whole.
It also stands out to parents looking for a program. Do they pick the program with the owner/teacher/director with the High school diploma and a few training hours under her belt or the one with the college degrees?
In many places it is not necessary to hold a degree to work in the ECE profession, I certainly didn’t have a degree when I started! My point is not that you can’t do the job without a degree, I’m saying you become a better version of your self when you chose to continue your education. It does not have to be a college degree! Go to training's, get a certificate, READ everything you can get your hands on! Education comes in many different forms.
Invest in yourself! It’s always been a suggestion that teachers need to dedicate time for themselves, to avoid burnout. Treat yourself to a pedicure and take a book with you! Relax time and education in one!
I hope you put some time into your continued education. Feel free to share in the comments what you do for continued education!