Thursday, October 18, 2012

Telling the Story of ECE

As an ECE professional, you spend most of your day making sure the everyday needs of everyone around you are met, but rarely are you able to take the time to advocate for the big needs of the children, family, staff, and field you serve.  However, an election year provides the perfect time and platform for our field to speak up. 
While Early Learning is getting little attention at the national level, education is in general and that gives those of us who work with children everyday the chance to expand the conversation about education to include Early Learning.  You do not have to participate on national television, but just be prepared to advocate for the things you need to make your program better. 
Advocate when you see a news story about education by commenting on how Early Learning contributes to children’s success.  You can, also, add your voice about how Early Learning reduces a child’s chances that they will be incarcerated when you hear stories about ways to reduce crime.   Since ECE rarely gets positive press, invite the local media to do a story about your program and how it benefits your families, or just about how much fun the kids are having scrapping out pumpkins.  Share information with your families about the economics of Early Learning.  Share your stories about how the Child Care Assistance Program benefits the families you serve, or how the reimbursements rates impact your ability to operate your program.   Add your story in the comment section of a news report about Early Learning. Send a letter or email to candidates about what you would like them to do for ECE or to thank you them for what they have done.

Advocacy at it’s very essence is about telling short stories, and I am sure you have one that needs to be told and heard.  So speak up, shout it out, write about it.  I am for one can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

With Kind Regards,


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
-George Bernard Shaw


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Role of Regulations on Parental Choices

As I was observing a group of preschoolers (who bring a sack lunch) eat lunch, I noted that most of their lunches did not meet the requirements of the USDA Food program, and I began to wonder how we could encourage parents to meet those requirements and the challenges of doing so.  There are regulations that require that all food served to children meet the requirements of the USDA, and it is part of the Environment Rating Scales so on one hand it seems like an easy thing to do, but in actuality it is not easy to get parents to provide a meal exactly as the USDA would like them to.  And as a parent, I have to say that I resent being told what to pack for my child's lunch.

My son, like many children, is not a vegetable eater. The joke around our house is that offer him tongue, octopus, or eel and we have a winner, but suggest broccoli and you might as well have just told him he must eat poison.  When he was a preschooler, he would not eat the vegetables in his lunch, no matter how attractive I made them or even if they were his favorites, so I stopped packing a vegetable.  I did pack a fruit, grain, protein, and milk . . . well, most of the time there was milk.  It just seemed silly to pack something I knew he would not eat, and I, also, knew that he got his vegetables at home (where he would actually eat them) and that we eat a healthy diet- hence, my resentment.

As a result, I do not relish the idea of telling families how they must feed their child, but I do understand the intent behind these regulations, and as a provider would find it easier to tell a parent that the law says you just have to do this.  I want parents to choose healthy food for their children, but I am wondering what role should child care regulations have on how parents choose to raise their child, and how do we encourage parents to make positive choices for their children?

Of course, lunches are only an example of the ways we want to keep children healthy and safe, and issues we need to educate parents about.  So what are the ways you think we can accomplish this and what role do you see regulations playing, if any?

With Warm Regards,


P.S. On a different note, I am conducting a survey to see what the financial needs of preschools are, and what types of funding they are recieving.  If you are an administrator in an EL program, please take a moment to take this survey (I promise it will be quick).
Funding Survey

"The older I get, the more I marvel at the wisdom of children."