The digital world has expanded the possibilities of finding ways to connect with people and organisations to learn and share resources. As long as we keep an open-mind and persevere to find what would match our needs, there is nothing we can not achieve.
The issues and trends in early childhood, although the same can look different depending on the contexts in which the learners belong. The following are snippets of stories that tell how people tackle what they believe is crucial in the education of children. My awareness continues to expand as I explore the possibilities of finding resources about early childhood education.
My search for connections continues and although things did not turn out as originally planned, there is so much to learn from people we know and people that people we are connected with know and so the web of connections seems endless. This week, through Facebook, I heard from a friend and a former colleague, Daun Yorke, updates about a workshop that she recently attended. She presented in her website how the philosophy of Reggio Emilia Approach prepares the foundation for learning and how it prepares the young learners for the initial stage of development and sustain the intrinsic motivation to learn throughout middle childhood and early adulthood. Teaching and learning then are not a fragmented process. Instead, it is a continuous process of forming and making – as how Daun described it, a process of weaving a tapestry. Moving on, through LinkedIn, I came across a non-governmental organisation, Developing Real Learners (DRL). This organisation aims to equip different stakeholders in the community through collaboration. The DRL group serves as a discussion forum on different topics that relate to learning for sustainability of the future. The organisation, although still in the process of completion aims to work with students, by helping them develop the attributes as an approach to learning. They provide professional development to schools and organisations by catering to their needs. As well, to offer free online learning for teachers, administrators, teachers, workshop leaders and parents is at its stage of development. The website also shares a wealth of resources that could be useful for different needs.
The World Forum Foundation lists fourteen issues in the working groups section. Each working group shares stories of attempts and successes in addressing the issues. I paid particular attention to the story of the community-based rehabilitation (CBR) efforts to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in Nepal. The video depicted the actions that different social workers and teacher students took to enable communities to include people with disabilities in the education and skill acquisition efforts for sustainable living. They shared powerful stories of individuals who traversed the journey of leading, guiding and empowering individuals in the midst of adversity. The conditions of the whole community are taken into consideration and not only the plight of the people with disabilities so that support can be given from the grassroots – the families. For example, parents are educated about health and sanitation so they can better take care of their children. Children with disabilities, on the other hand, are taught how to explore and strengthen their capabilities instead of focusing on things that they can not do. Children with cognitive disabilities are encouraged to learn skills that would be practical to sustain their living. For example, learning how to sew, and doing chores for themselves. Also, being a Friend of International Step by Step Association provides more access to inspiring stories of overcoming adverse situations that relate education from the different parts of the world. Browsing from archived news are tales of the mobile library in Macedonia that promote literacy amongst children including their families and teachers, the peer learning activity between parents and children in Belarus, and establishing intergenerational learning between senior citizens and young children in Europe. These are concrete actions taken by people in different forms to advocate for change in their respective contexts.
It is my wish to be able to tell my story one day.