Getting to Know Your International Contacts—Part 2

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I have not yet received a response from anyone I contacted. So instead, I visited  Harvard University’s “Global Children’s Initiative” website (http://developingchild.harvard.edu/initiatives/global_initiative/) and here are some things I learned. 

In an effort to build an integrated international approach to child survival, health, and development in the earliest years of life, the Center on the Developing Child has launched the Global Children’s Initiative as the centerpiece of its global child health and development agenda. The Global Children’s Initiative seeks to advance the Center’s core mission globally. They plan to do so by implementing a compelling research, public engagement and leadership development agenda in child health and development that is grounded in science and engages researchers, public leaders, practitioners, and students from a wide range of institutions around the world.

One of those includes Zambia. I was unaware that although a large number of studies have been done to study the impact of early childhood experiences on children’s developmental, health, and educational outcomes in developed countries, little evidence is available on early childhood development in sub-Saharan Africa.  Because of this lack of information, a collaborative effort to measure the effects of an ongoing anti-malaria initiative on children’s development in Zambia has been launched. It is called the Zambian Early Childhood Development Project (ZECDP) and it was launched in 2009 by the Zambian Ministry of Education, the Examination Council of Zambia, UNICEF, the University of Zambia, and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The ZECDP created a comprehensive instrument for assessing children’s physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive development before and throughout their schooling careers. This is the first assessment tool of its kind in Zambia. Completed in May 2010, the Zambian Child Assessment Test (ZamCAT) combines existing child development measures with newly developed items in order to provide a broad assessment of children of preschool age in the Zambian context.

There was also an extensive amount of information on this site about the Science of Early Childhood Education. Through this information I read more in depth about a few things I had learned in previous classes such as how learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy development. Without caring adults to buffer children, the unrelenting stress caused by extreme poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.

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About toteachistotouchlives

Hi. My name is Kristen Hammel and I am a first grade teacher in Maryland. I am in my fourth year of teaching and now beginning my Masters program in Early Childhood Education at Walden University. I am very excited for this new journey I am embarking on and am excited to share my experiences with you.

5 responses »

  1. In your blog you mentioned “Without caring adults to buffer children, the unrelenting stress caused by extreme poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.” Do you think this is the problem with a lot of children from different countries- their parents are just not caring enough and do not know how to parent the right way and not a lot of adults are caring and willing to help/take over- leaving the children neglected, abused, and depressed, etc? Do you think these countries will ever improve? When children grow up in poverty, do you think this helps to motivate them as adults to get out of that situation or are they more then likely to live in poverty their whole life because that’s what they know, what they are used too and don’t know any better? What are your thoughts on this?

    -Stacy Perry

  2. I agree that in some instances, children can be adversely effected by some of the traumas that you are mention in your blog. However, what about in our country where most parts of the country have availabiltiy to some type of early learning program? Do you think that families just don’t have the time anymore, or are we depending too much on others to raise our young children?

    • I don’t think that parents have the money to enroll their children into preschool right now. This economy has gone down the tubes and everyone is being affected by it. Poverty has increased and preschool isn’t the top priority. If I were struggling, my son would have food in his stomach, have clothes on his back, and a roof over his head before he would attend preschool.

  3. This is interesting and probably explains why I haven’t heard back from the two contacts I tried reaching in Africa. I have also been unable to find much information on early childhood education there. I was interested in Uganda and also the Democratic Republic of Congo. I recently learned about an organization called Invisible Children and the work they are doing in trying to free and rehabilitate chidlren who were kidnapped and forced to be soldiers in Joseph Kony’s army (long back story there that I didn’t know either, you can read about it on the website if you’re interested). Anyway, it makes sense that early childhood education may not be a focus there right now as survival is more important. I am interested, though, in finding out more about what I may be able to do to help. I have a friend who went there to work with other teachers and high school students. I would like to work with mothers and young children if possible. If you find anything like that in your research, please pass it along.
    :)Jen

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