In The Multiple Disciplines of Early Childhood Education I look at how various disciplines all contribute to the growing and evolving field of early childhood education. I reflect on the disciplines of my teammates and friends that are doing amazing work across the world and how what they learn can contribute to my own passions and aspirations.
This post originally appeared on the We Move Media Website. The We Move Media Team is a group of social entrepreneurs that come together to discuss life, careers, aspirations, inspirations and everything in between. We focus on telling stories of social change through our own experiences and share lessons that we learn along the way. Visit the We Move Media website here.
This year starts off with our team spread across the world. We are busy building networks, learning new skills, advancing in our careers and making large impacts. While we are all off on our personal journeys, we are all still committed to our education. Some of us are currently in school, some of us are thinking about going back to school and others are doing both. But really, our concept of education is much, much wider than simply attending formal institutions of higher learning. Our education also means attending workshops and conferences, reading books, articles and blogs, and most importantly, listening to each other’s personal journeys. As Ruby learns about interaction design in Austin, I am learning about interactive design. As Michael learns about online community management, I learn about online community management. As Kristina learns about mobile security, I learn about mobile security. And as Renjie learns about economic development and social finance, I learn that he will have to draw pictures and talk slowly to me when explaining it.
I see my own personal journey as the intersection between social innovation and early childhood education (ECE). My work at Social Innovation Generation (SiG) at the University of Waterloo has been a tremendous learning experience. I am learning all the nuances of social innovation and how it is applied to our complex social systems in which we face large intractable problems. I am discovering that there are people working on the massive problems we face as humanity and it brings me comfort and inspiration to forge ahead with my own innovations.
While working at SiG, I am taking masters-level courses at the University of British Columbia in Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED). While distance education can be trying at times, as I prefer face-to-face learning environments, the readings and assignments are a wealth of information and thought exercises. I am diving deep into the world of child psychology and the implications of different pedagogies both locally and internationally.
I have also realized that the skills and insights from my team will prove to be invaluable in achieving my own aspirations and, as such, I will continue to seek them out for their perspectives and thoughts.
While I am not directly interested in finance, I do understand its importance in achieving other social goals and outcomes. Having a sustainable financial base to any operation can mean innovation rather than stagnation and resilience rather than fragility. In an article that I wrote on the economic benefit of early childhood education, I give a short explanation of how education of the very young play an influencing role on the economics of a nation. As I aspire to create large social innovations in the early childhood education discipline, I will inevitable come to rely on the expertise of social financiers and social enterprisers.
We are all experiencing a mobile revolution and it is touching almost every part of our world. It presents a huge opportunity to change the way people interact– whether it is personal, business, or educational. Within the field of ECED, mobile technologies presents a huge opportunity to educate practitioners, track the progress of a child’s education and development, and provide administrative and collaborative support for any ECED organization. But with these huge opportunities for good comes a responsibility to ensure that it is safe and secure. Because the ECED field is considered a vulnerable sector, mobile technology will have to prove that it is safe and secure before wide adoption.
Along the lines of the mobile revolution, we are also experiencing a similar surge in the use of online communities to share and discuss ideas which are the driving force of any social innovation. Online communities are being created daily around every particular interest because people have an intrinsic motivation to share and discuss things that are most important to them. Online communities will have a critical role in ensuring the best practices in ECED are being developed and assessed to ensure its’ cultural and developmental appropriateness. I am very excited about the prospect of teachers and practitioners widely adopting online communities. I am currently exploring some career options that are exactly in this domain–that is, the intersection between online communities, social innovation and education.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs, articles and books on design lately and I am finding it invaluable to any social innovation project. Thinking like a designer is more than just thinking about style. ‘Design Thinking’ can help solve the greatest challenges we face in business, society, and our daily lives. It is a multi-faceted practice that can explain how business functions, how children learn, and how communities thrive. Whatever social innovation project I take on in the future will incorporate a design process and I will need the expertise of designers to help guide the process.
For these reasons and so much more, the team will be an amazing resource throughout my life and career. But, more than just a source of resources, the team is a source of inspiration, knowledge and companionship. I look forward to our next team retreat and future collaborations.
Peaches and Love,