Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Professional Goals

The following goals will assist me in becoming more effective as an early childhood professional:

1.  Obtain knowledge of the Common Core Standards and how it correlates with established early childhood systems 
  • The Common Core Standards does not have student learning objectives for children in pre-kindergarten. The Common Core Standards are for grades kindergarten through twelfth grade.  Since leaving kindergarten two years ago, I feel like I have been disconnected from current educational issues and can relate to the educational needs of children under the Maryland State Curriculum.  Understanding the Common Core Standards and how it correlates with established early childhood systems would allow me to adjust or modify instruction in order to meet children's social, emotional, and cognitive developmental needs. 
  • The following link shares how pre-kindergarten teachers throughout the country are attempting to keep up with the Common Core.
 2.  Explore alternative evaluation systems for Maryland early childhood programs to ensure quality programs

  • Every three years, Maryland early childhood programs are accredited and validatedIn order for programs to pass validation, a self-appraisal team consisting of teachers, instructional assistants, an administrator, and a parent evaluates the program. After each team member has evaluated the program, program needs are formulated and tabulated into a document entitled the Program Improvement Plan.  Then, staff members work on improving weaker areas of the program and a validation date is set.  On the day of validation, the validators walk through the classroom observing items from the self-appraisal document and reviewing documentation.  Once the validators review documentation, they make a recommendation whether the school passes or fails.  If a school passes, the validators will not evaluate the program for another three years.   

  • I have participated in this process four times. Each year, staff members frantically gather documentation and make their classrooms prestine for the validation visit.  When the visit is over, old habits gradually reappear.  However, the program never loses its accreditation and validation during the three year period. 

  • Exploring alternative evaluation systems could allow for programs to be evaluated and monitored at a greater rate which would hold programs to a greater degree of accountability and allow practices to remain consistent.  
3.  Delve into the political ramifications behind Universal Preschool

  • For eight years, I taught kindergarten.  Each year the children who attended the children who attended our school's pre-kindergarten program entered kindergarten better prepared socially, emotionally, and cognitively compared to students who did not have this experience.  Each year of one my co-workers was an advocate for universal pre-kindergarten. Each year, she stated her desire for all children to have pre-kindergarten and devised ways in order for that to occur such as having the pre-kindergarten program be half days in order to service additional students. Each year, her ideas fell on deaf ears.   
  •  Federal government dominates public spending on preschool preschool. "From 2008 to 2011, federal spending increased while local and state funding decreased" (Barnett, 2010, p. 2).  However "with the increased spending only 65% of children in the lowest two income quintiles attended a preschool program" (2010, p. 3).  
  • With staggering statistics, why are so many children not being given an opportunity to attend a preschool program?  Why has not the United States of America adopted a universal preschool program?  Underdeveloped countries such as Guyana has an universal nursery program.  Has the child care industry hindered the universal preschool movement in the United States? Exploring these issues would give me insight on how to effectively campaign for universal preschool.


Barnett, S. (2010). Universal and targeted approaches to preschool education in the United States. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy, 4(1), 1–12. Retrieved from http://icep.re.kr/archive/issue/read.jsp?no=319&pno=245&stype=&sval




  1. Melissa,
    It is interesting in your discussion about universal pre-k that the child care industry may be hindering efforts. I had a talk with my district specialist for VPK and adding more programs to the public school system and she mentioned having to tread lightly due to child care industry.
    Good luck in reaching your goals.
    Sharon Lloyd

    1. Sharon,
      Thanks for your insight about the child care industries impact on universal preschool. I am excited to research this aspect and how child care centers and the universal preschool movement can work together to achieve the same goal: school readiness.

  2. Melissa,

    I can relate with your goal of relating more to Common Core Standards. I have very little experience/knowledge with Common Core Standards myself. I know many people in the private sector who are concerned about what universal PK will mean for them financially. Although they are early childhood educators, they are providing a service, and running a business. Depending on how universal PK is structured, it could negatively impact small businesses and the private sector financially.


    1. Johanna,
      Thank you on your insight from early childhood professionals in the private sector. It makes me wonder if this is the reason why universal preschool does not exist in the United States.

  3. Melissa, as I read other's goals I continue to add more to what I would like to accomplish. I had somewhat forgotten about Universal Preschool with so many additional things going on in the early childhood community. Thanks for reminding me so I can put it back on my radar. Good luck with your goals.