Author Archives: toteachistotouchlives

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.

Time well spent!


The first deeply felt learning that I will take with me from this program is the implications of play. Although i knew the importance of it before beginning this course, this helped me to see the implications of play in academic achievement. Teachers who facilitate healthy play in the early childhood classroom provide an ideal means of integrating social, emotional, and intellectual growth.

Another deeply felt learning I experienced through this program was a better understanding of communication including non-verbal communications. Eye contact is a specific form of communication that came up that I use daily in my classroom as well as teach to my students. I used to feel that this type of non-verval communication was more of a “respect” thing but through this course I learned that there are six different functions of eye contact and they range from influencing attitude to expressing emotions and some are things you use and some are things you teach.

One final thing that I have learned through this program that I will carry with me is the many things I learned about myself through learning about anti-bias education. The better you know yourself, the better you can understand your own responses to the children and families you work with. We all have learned biases and those biases act as filters keeping us from accurately seeing who we are and what is happening in front of us.

My long term goal for my career in the field of Early Childhood Education is to do my part to create an environment of anti-bias for all children. Understanding and respecting the social identities of my students and their families will help me to create a caring community of learners. It is my hope that the children’s daily interactions with their teachers and classmates will encourage acceptance and respect.

I want to thank each of you for your guidance and support through this program. Many of you have contributed to my education here at Walden University Your perspectives and experiences have really helped me to think deeper about my own goals and perspectives. I have learned so much from this program and the instructors that I will use as I continue my career in the field as well as in my future professional development. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and I hope to hear from you via my blog- I would love to hear how you are using the wealth of knowledge we have learned over these ten courses!



International Organizations


Convoy of hope is a faith-based, international, humanitarian-relief organization strategically based in Springfield, Missouri — the crossroads of America — their goal is to bring help and hope to those who are impoverished, hungry and hurting. More than 145,000 children in 11 nations are being fed nutritious meals by them. The food opens doors for education, clean water, a sense of hope and much more. Currently, we are feeding children in the Philippines, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, South Africa and Tanzania.

The listed job that would interest me the most is SIGNATURE EVENTS DIRECTOR.
The Signature Events Director supports the ministry of Convoy of Hope by facilitating all phases of events in cities across the United States. He/She is on the front lines of fulfilling the organizational mission. This individual will be leading out in Tier 1 events with guest counts of 10,000+ and has a heavy travel schedule. The director serves the organization as a credentialed minister, speaks on behalf of the organization at churches and conferences, administers sacraments and conducts religious worship. There were no listed credentials for this position.

The Global Partnership for Education is the only international organization focused on supporting countries’ efforts to educate children from early primary school through secondary school.

The job listed that I found interesting was for a position on The Global Partnership for Education Board of Directors. They are the supreme governing body of the partnership and sets its policies and strategies.The Board mirrors the wide-ranging and diverse nature of the Global Partnership and includes members from developing country governments and all development partners: donors, civil society organizations, private sector and foundations, and multilateral agencies and regional banks.

Responsibilities for this position include review of annual objectives of the Partnership, resource mobilization, monitoring of financial resources and funding, partnership advocacy and oversight of Secretariat budget and work plan.

ACEI is a global community of educators and advocates who unite knowledge, experience, and perspectives in order to exchange information, explore innovation and advocate for children.Their mission is to promote and support in the global community the optimal education, development, and well-being of children, from birth through early adolescence, and to influence the professional growth of educators and the efforts of others who are committed to the needs of children in a changing society.

The only job listed was for an internship. ACEI has two internships available for the summer of 2013. Interns are given the opportunity to gain work experience consisting primarily of online research and data gathering that will contribute to the development of briefing papers and other types of resources. In addition to their day-to-day assignments, interns will have the opportunity to attend various meetings related to childhood education. Interns should be enrolled in a graduate degree program that focuses on global education issues with a particular interest in children’s education. A focus on one specific aspect of childhood education, such as basic education or early childhood development, is also acceptable. Interns who have had some international experience(s) working or living outside the U.S., are preferred. Internships typically range from 8 -12 weeks. All interns must reside in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area during their assignment and are responsible for arranging their own housing and transportation. Interns are based at the ACEI Headquarters located at 1101 16th Street NW, Washington DC, 20036, a few blocks north of the White House. ACEI offers a monthly stipend. –

National Organizations


NAEYC’s mission is to serve and act on behalf of the needs, rights and well-being of all young children with primary focus on the provision of educational and developmental services and resources. this appealed to me because through my job I was offered the chance to attend an NAEYC conference.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is a Washington, DC-based national membership organization of close to 80,000 members, focused on improving the quality and accessibility of early childhood education programs and services and on enhancing the development of children and families. NAEYC offers competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant work environment. All positions are located at our Headquarters in Washington, DC. The job opportunity that interested me that most was the customer care associate because I enjoy talking to and working directly with people. This position is for a Call Center Associate position for NAEYC’s busy membership and sales department to provide customer service to members, customer, subscribers and others who contact them for information. Duties include data entry, filing, customer contact/follow-up and troubleshooting various membership/sales issues via phone, e-mail, fax and mail. 1-2 years of reception, call center, administrative and customer service experience required. Candidates must be proficient in MSOffice/Windows and have excellent customer service skills. Attention to detail and the ability to multi-task is essential. Applicants who are bilingual in Spanish are preferred.

ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit organization that provides parents, professionals and policymakers the knowledge and the know-how to nurture early development. This interested me because early childhood has always been my passion. My Bachelors and now soon to be my masters focus on the development of our youngest children. The job that interested me at was the Senior Writer/Training Specialist position. This person is responsible for supporting efforts to develop and maintain a comprehensive system for coordinated communication and knowledge sharing with the EHS and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) community that incorporates cultural perspectives of American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) program staff and families. This position will lead the development of up to 3 EHSNRC deliverables (i.e. webcasts, webinars, podcasts, TA papers, tip sheets, etc.); and is responsible for designing and conducting trainings for Federal staff, technical assistance (TA) providers, and EHS/Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program staff.
Master’s degree in Early Childhood Development or related field.
Physical Requirements:
While performing the responsibilities of the job, the employee is frequently required to use finger dexterity as well as sufficient hand dexterity to use a computer keyboard and be capable of reading a computer screen. Also may need to remain seated for long periods of time, have the ability to perform repetitive motions, grasp objects, including a writing instrument, communicate verbally and hear well enough to detect nuances and receive detailed information. The employee may be required to walk, push or pull objects, bend, squat, reach, stand, or kneel. Vision abilities required by this job include close vision for expansive reading and preparing and analyzing data.

The Child Welfare League of America interested me because as a educator my passion is children and this community of practice serves the welfare of all children. CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Our expertise, leadership and innovation on policies, programs, and practices help improve the lives of millions of children in all 50 states. The job that interested me the most was the position for Regional Team Supervised.The Regional Team Supervisor will be responsible for oversight of the provision of services designed to improve outcomes for agencies, children, youth, and families in the child welfare system. This person participates as a member of the Leadership Team, actively engaging in quality improvement efforts through Defining, Assessment, Planning, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation designed to support the Mission, Vision, and Values of the Resource Center.The Regional Team Supervisor will provide direct supervision to Practice Improvement Specialists and Resource Specialists.In addition, the Regional Team Supervisor provides supportive supervision to the integration of Youth and Family Engagement throughout the program. the job requirements listed are that you must have completion of BSW and/or degree in related human services field required. Master’s degree in social work or closely related field is preferred. Excellent communication skills, problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, writing skills, human relations skills, and collaboration and facilitation skills required. Must have the ability to lead and provide direction to others effectively, and organize, plan and coordinate activities. Must have knowledge of the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Practice Standards and public child welfare practice.

State and Local Organizations

This appeals to me because my community of practice capstone project focuses on getting resources to low income families. Some of the job opportunities listed on the website are for things such as drivers, director of communications, and SNAP coordinator. The one that interested me the most was the SNAP coordinator. In this role the employee will be responsible for locating eligible Marylanders who have a need and desire to receive SNAP benefits. The employee will be required to travel to specific locations to assist in registering eligible residents for benefits. Knowledge of computers and their operations is required as is the ability to quickly and accurately enter and maintain the relevant data into the SNAP system. For this job, a Bachelor’s Degree is preferred. A combination of social services work and education will be considered. At least three years in a relevant field of work is preferred. The ability to read, write and speak English is required.
This appeals to me because this is an example of resources for families. This is located in the heart of the city surrounded by low income areas. This organization provides books to families which will enhance literacy. Some of the job opportunities listed on this website are Academic or Administrative volunteers,
book bank volunteers and Baltimore Reads event crew. The one that interested me the most was the Academic or Administrative volunteers. You can serve as a tutor, teacher’s assistant, ESL conversation partner, in another academic/ instructional volunteer position or administrative support position. We hope you will consider a long-term volunteer commitment, committing to a minimum of three hours per week from the hire date until the end of the academic session. There are no requirements or qualifications listed for these jobs.
The big bothers and big sisters organization appeals to me because this too fits right with my capstone project. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. This would be a wonderful organization for children in low income families to participate in. The job/volunteer opportunities that are listed on the website are being a Big Brother, Big Sister, or volunteering. The one that interested me the most was being a big sister. In order to apply to be a big sister, you will need to provide references, participate in an in-person interview, and go through a background check.

Thank you


An explanation of your most passionate hope for your future as an early childhood professional and for the children and families with whom you work or will work.
A brief note of thanks to your colleagues.

My most passionate hope for my future as an early childhood professional is that I can teach them the importance of understanding and respecting the identities of one another and they will use their power for good. I hope that they will stand up for themselves as well as protect each other from bias. I hope that my families will feel respected, understood, and important.

To my colleagues- Thank you for all of your insights and ideas as we have worked through this course together. I wish you all the best of luck with our 10th and final course!! Congratulations on all of your future endeavors!

East Asia and the Pacific


The area of the world that I chose was East Asia and the Pacific. I chose this area because some of the places listed happen to be beautiful places to vacation and I immediately thought that people may only know the beauty of these areas rather than some of the challenges.

Some of the challenges that children face in the Pacific Islands and in East Asia are unsafe water, poor sanitation, and hygiene issues including illnesses and infections.

Almost every day a Solomon Islander dies from a water, sanitation and hygiene related illness: Results from a recent survey show that 1 out of every 5 children under the age of five have had a skin or eye infection in the previous two weeks due to poor hygiene practices and lack of access to safe, clean water and a toilet.The related health risks of unsafe water and poor sanitation include nutritional deficiencies, diarrhea, worm infestations, respiratory infections, skin and eye infections. These preventable conditions and diseases can lead to poor attendance or attention at school, hindering their ability to learn and develop. Furthermore, lack of adequate water and toilets at schools de-motivate teachers and children from regular attendance (UNICEF, 2014).

I cannot begin to imagine experiencing these challenges as an adult, much less a child. When children are worried about their health and well being, they are unable to focus on the things that children should be focusing on- school and being a kid. Learning abut children suffering and not having food to eat and clean water to drink affects me both personally and professionally. From a personal standpoint, I feel for them as a parent and wish I could help. From a professional standpoint, I understand the consequences this has on their development mentally, emotionally, and physically.



In our society children are exposed to so much more than we were or than they should be. Because of the nature of our society children see things on television and in other media forms that encourages little girls to strive to be sexy and little boys to be muscular and attractive and it gives them the wrong understanding of gender and sexuality. An example of this I have personal experienced is a particular student in my class. She is a second grader (I teach a 1/2 split class this year) who has developed quicker than every other girl in second grade. She wears a bra and just got her period for the first time. She dresses too inappropriate for a 8 year old. One day I had to send her to the nurse to get a shirt because she was wearing a tube-top. Another example of exposure to a highly sexualized environment happened just last week. A student of mine had told a boy in our class that eh could kiss her if he wanted. So he did-on her cheek. I had a discussion with her about this and asked why she said this to him and she said that she saw it on television. The third example is a situation with the same little girl just a few days ago. I called my group to the carpet for math and upon looking around the carpet to see if everyone was sitting on their own square, I noticed this little girl was not in her correct square and in fact she was sitting next to a little boy and she had her hand in his lap caressing his thigh. When I called her name to get her attention she said, “I was just telling him to crisscross his legs!” I moved her seat and ended up sending her to speak to the guidance counselor about this behavior.
There are a number of implications this may have on children’s development. Children are being forced to grow up too young and way before they are ready because the mainstream media is pushing sex on them. Children growing up today are bombarded from a very early age with graphic messages about sex and
sexiness in the media and popular culture (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). Children are paying an enormous price for the sexualization of their childhood. Girls and boys constantly encounter sexual messages and images that they cannot understand and that can confuse and even frighten them. Gender roles modeled for children have become increasingly polarized and rigid. A narrow definition of femininity and sexuality encourages girls to focus heavily on appearance and sex appeal. They learn at a very young age that their value is determined by how beautiful, thin, “hot,” and sexy they are. And boys, who get a very narrow definition of masculinity that promotes insensitivity and macho behavior, are taught to judge girls based on how close they come to an artificial, impossible, and shallow ideal (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). Both boys and girls are routinely exposed to images of sexual behavior devoid of emotions, attachment, or consequences. They learn that sex is the defining activity in relationships, to the exclusion of love and friendship. They learn that sex is often linked to violence. And they learn to associate physical appearance and buying the right products not only with being sexy but also with being successful as a person. Such lessons will shape their gender identity, sexual attitudes, and values, and their capacity for relationships,for love and connection, that they take into adulthood. While they struggle to make sense of all this, children are robbed of valuable time for age-appropriate developmental tasks, and they may begin to engage in precocious sexual behavior (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009).
I am more aware of the implications of the sexualization of early childhood now that I have studied this topic. Children have always been curious about sex and sexuality from an early age, and it is good for parents and schools to give them honest and age-appropriate information. But what children are learning today isn’t normal or good for them. We are alarmed by the particular lessons that children are learning. The sexualization of childhood is having a profoundly disturbing impact on children’s understanding of gender, sexuality, and relationships (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009).

Levin, D. E., & Kilbourne, J. (2009). [Introduction]. So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids (pp. 1-8). New York: Ballantine Books. Retrieved from: