Time well spent

What a journey we have all been through and we have come out breathing and even better people and educators for it. This course has often been overwhelming for me, however, it has really made me more passionate about early childhood education, its issues and trends that we can all help solve one step at a time.

This masters program has firstly taught me to be brave as an educator and advocate. It has taught me to look at issues and trends within the early childhood field in a holistic manner, and work alongside people who are already advocating for these issues and trends for guidance, knowledge, good practice and support. Furthermore, this program has taught me that children and families are our priority, and that we need to be mindful of them when considering policies and curriculums, and how the decisions we make about education will have an impact on their lives.

As a result, my one long term goal is to continue to advocate for inclusive education for all children in schools and train educators to be able to cope with the demands this brings upon them and the school.

I wish my online colleagues only the best in your future endeavors in your professional journey and always keep on keeping on, but remember to care for yourself first before you help others.

To Dr. Embree thank you for a wonderful last module. It was tough at times, but you were a light in a very dark place for me many times, especially when trying to narrow down my goals for my Capstone Project. Thank you for those newsletters too, they are a big help!!

I leave you all with my two favorite quotes of mine, as this is what we do everyday for the children we interact with and let us continue to prepare for a better education for our children through advocacy.

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Here is my email address, as I would like to keep in contact with you all: justineeaton86@gmail.com

Good bye and so long!



Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

Two of my favorite international community organizations were shown in the resources this week. The first organization is:

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 8.23.04 PMThis organization is a favorite of mine because it simply fights for the rights of every child, every day across the globe -190 countries to be more specific. UNICEF is active in ensuring every area of a child’s life is seen to and cared for. Due to the fact that my Capstone Project is about ensuring all children are included in schools and curriculums regardless of physical or academic differences, UNICEF specifically works towards children protection and inclusion.

UNICEF  has created The equity-based approach as one of the foundations of their disability/inclusive agenda, the main goal is to mainstream disability across all of their policies and programs – both in development and humanitarian action – and to develop leadership on the rights of children with disabilities, building capacity among staff and partners.

When looking at their website I came across many job opportunities, the one that caught my eye, was a National Education officer in Cambodia. Now although this location is not a first choice of mine, I feel the skills UNICEF requires for this position suits me and I am able to develop and work towards, namely:

  • committed, creative professional and,
  • passionate about making a lasting difference for children,
  • support program development, management, planning and monitoring;
  • support technical and operational implementation of the program
  • network and build partnerships; and
  • be innovative.
  • a university degree in education,
  • a minimum of 5 years professional experience in program planning, management, monitoring and evaluation in social development, education or related area,
  • professional/technical expertise in education and/or social development policy planning, analysis and implementation at national and sub-national levels with diverse stakeholders and partners is an asset.
  • good understanding of public sector reforms,
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills, and demonstrated ability to foster effective partnerships and
  • fluent in written and spoken English.

The second favorite organization of mine is:

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This organization I have previously mentioned in a blog post.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future not only in the United States, but around the world. They give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protect them from harm.

Save the Children work in United States, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean, Middle East and Eurasia.


The job opportunity that I came across the website is The Early Childhood Development Program Specialist. The skills required, is to:

  • provide staff members training, technical assistance, and management support to program partners to ensure quality program implementation and results for children,
  • focus on prenatal through to age five and school-age children,
  • work under the supervision of the State Director/Deputy Program Director and work as a member of the state team, in collaboration with the national program team, the Program Specialist oversees and supports program implementation, monitoring, and evaluation at assigned sites,
  • have a high School Diploma or equivalent,
  • have minimum 3-5 years relevant experience in the area of infant/toddler development.
  • have professional level of specialized knowledge to manage complex tasks, programs or projects.
  • use MS Word, Excel, PPT and on-line technologies proficiently.
  • be willing to travel regularly in their assigned region.

The third organization that I have never come across and have become more interested in is:

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 9.03.37 PMThis organization was a nonprofit organization that works globally to create solutions to critical problems in health, education, social and economic development.  It collaborated with partners in 300 programs in all 50 U.S. states and more than 150 countries. However, In 2011, the teams of experts from Family Health International and Academy for Educational Development came together to create FHI 360. Therefore, this organization is no longer and is now:

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 9.23.01 PM.png FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Their staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research, technology, communication and social marketing and serve more than 60 countries and all U.S. states and territories.

The job opportunity in fhi360 that caught my eye was the Teacher Professional Development Specialist. The skills and experience required for this job is:

  • at least 5 years of experience in teacher professional development program design and implementation for curriculum and materials development; active learning methods; learning materials in low-resource environments; and mentoring and capacity-building of teachers, teacher educators, staff, and counterparts.
  • knowledge of international best practices in reading and writing content and instructional practices.
  • experience with research, monitoring, and evaluation and the application of research to improve reading and writing programs.
  • demonstrated management and leadership skills working on large and complex donor-funded programs,
  • experience reporting on large donor-funded programs,
  • the ability to work with and gain the respect and confidence of host country counterparts, staff, and clients.
  • the ability to mentor, motivate and empower the performance of team members and partners,
  • experience in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in the assigned country and
  • proficient in oral and written communication in English.


Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National/Federal Level

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The first national organization that has appealed to me and are based in South Africa is the National Association of Child Care Workers. This organization is a non-profit organization that provides:

  • professional training and infrastructure to promote healthy children,
  • youth development,
  • improve standards of care and treatment for orphaned, vulnerable and at risk children, youth and family,
  • residential care settings.

In this organization there were no job opportunities being advertised, however I looked at the programs that they offer and one program that caught my attention is a community-based child care intervention program that is called Isibindi, which means ‘courage’. This program helps youth care workers service children, youth and their families across South Africa, where social services are scarce. These care workers train community members to help their own community by:

  • Teaching life skills, such as relationship building, problem solving, conflict resolution, dealing with stress,
  • Assessing and referring children and families around issues of health, trauma, education, material assistance relating to severe food insecurity and crises,
  • Transferring knowledge and skills, such as HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and management, safety, nutrition and educational assistance,
  • Life-space counseling, where in the moment assistance with difficult situations of conflict, crisis, stress and grief is offered.

As a result, I would like to be apart of this organization as I love to help people and children become their best and have often considered becoming a social worker. I am not one hundred percent sure what the position would require though, as no positions are advertised, as already mentioned.

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The second national organization I came across is called Save the Children South Africa, in 2013 this organization was formed to fight for local children’s rights and became an official members of Save the Children International, when a merger occurred between UK, Sweden and South Africa.

The goals for Save the Children South Africa are:

Survive : no child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday.
Learn: all children learn from a goodquality basic education.
Be protected: violence against children is no longer tolerated.

Whilst looking on the Save the Children South Africa website I came across a job opportunity of an advocacy manager. This position requires one to be responsible for developing, driving and implement their priority campaign, working closely with colleagues countrywide. The Advocacy manager will be responsible to advocate and communicate on children’s rights issues domestically, regionally and globally with a particular focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Violence against Children, Children on the Move and follow – up on concluding observations from the treaty bodies.

The experience and skills needed for me to fulfill this position is to have experience of working in the South African Children’s or Youth Sector and a history of working with child rights advocacy at least 5 years, both national, regional and global level.

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The third national organization I came across is SOS Children’s Villages South Africa. This organization responds to the developmental needs of children in South Africa, children’s rights and violations, environmental changes and challenges in South Africa that affect children. Furthermore, this organization contributes to the improvements of public policies and laws for South African children along with the amendments with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

The employment opportunity I came across in SOS Children’s Villages South Africa, is a child and youth care worker trainee. This job requires one to move between SOS family homes, relieving residential Child and Youth Care Workers who are on leave or who require assistance. Furthermore, one should be able to work with the SOS as a “team” to provide the basic and developmental care for the children and Youth under their care.

The experience or skills required for this position is:

  • A qualification or progress towards a qualification in child and youth care work.
  • Administrative experience,
  • 3 Years’ experience in working with children & youth,








Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

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1The first local organization I found in South Africa that I would like to possibly become involved in when I return back home is The learning Trust. It is a non-profit, grant making, supportive service provider. The Learning trust believes in supporting and strengthening local, effective and sustainable education interventions/clusters or organizations in communities that are poverty stricken and often excluded. The reason for choosing this organization is that it helps smaller organizations within in a community that want to help themselves and intervene in the educational shortfalls.

I do not see job opportunities available in this organization, however if one was to come up, I would like to be a member of the organization that can help train the small community organizations, to:

  • develop an effective plan to make an impact in their community, using good governance based on values,
  • set up budget, financial controls and the monitoring, and evaluation of frameworks,
  • how to increase long-term fundraising,

In order for me to achieve the above, I would need a desire to want to make a positive social change, a background in education and business (which I do not have) and complete the courses The Learning Trust requires members to take part in.

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The second organization I would like to participate in if I were back home is CARE. CARE is one of the world’s leading international humanitarian agencies working to help people achieve social and economic well being. CARE works with communities and local organizations within South Africa and Lesotho to implement programs in the areas of health care and HIV & AIDS, economic empowerment, democratic governance, education and food security. The reasons for choosing this organization is because CARE helps the people in my country and what better way to contribute to that positive social change.

I too did not come across any positions that are available now, however I would like to be a Monitoring Evaluation Learning Specialist for CARE. This role would require me to have experience in:

  • providing technical support in designing and implementing monitoring systems and learning processes,
  • coordinating of program evaluation design and research,
  • managing knowledge and Gender Justice team membership.


Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 8.39.06 PM


The third organization of interest to me is Bobbi Bear. This organization is a human rights organization in my suburb that helps sexually abused children in a threatening way by using a toy called Bobbi Bear for child victims of sexual abuse to communicate the nature of the abuse, crossing all language barriers and preventing secondary abuse at the point of rescue. Bobbi Bear rescues and provides safe homes for abused children, work with the criminal justice system to prosecute perpetrators, educate individuals and communities- which is how I got to know more about them. I chose this organization as one can volunteer and gain valuable hands-on, real-life experience working with vulnerable children in a challenging environment. Furthermore, volunteers can experience the inside workings of a busy charity on the ground, saving lives of children, and gain valuable perspective on different cultures and customs.

Once again I did not come across employment positions/roles, however one can volunteer, which I mentioned above. All one needs to do is write an application letter stating your reasons and motivations. You need to show that you have experience working with children or  in the social sector. Once accepted as a volunteer, you pay a fee. This fee ensures that Bobbi Bear do not lose money hosting volunteers, but gain valuable experience, support and investment in to their work.






Reflecting on Learning

My hope is:

  • That children learn to have a voice and love themselves for who they are and what they represent from an early age.
  • That children’s families support, grow with each other in a safe, peaceful and healthy environment, that appreciates each other and diversity in all its forms.
  • As an anti-bias educator I can achieve the above in every-way possible using effective, informative and engaging anti-bias curriculum, whether it is a personal and professional or school wide initiative.

Thank you!

Thank you to all my fellow online colleagues for encouraging and challenging me during this module. Continue to shine bright for the children and families you are advocating for on a daily basis. We can do this even though it may seem overwhelming and very challenging. In the end we are making a difference!


Impacts on Early Emotional Development

The area of the world I have chosen to read more about and how UNICEF is helping is the Middle East and North Africa regions. This area covers countries from Morocco to Iran, including Djibouti and Sudan in sub-Saharan Africa. The reason for choosing this region, is due to the fact that I am living in the Middle East, namely in Qatar and traveling around the different countries in the Middle East, and being aware of the struggles many people face in these regions, I can help, as knowledge is power!

The region is home to nearly 418 million people, including 157 million, or 38 per cent, who are under the age of 18. Nearly 10,000 children are born across the region every year. The region is marked by significant disparities – Saudi Arabia, one of the region’s richest countries, shares borders with Yemen, one of its poorest and most conflict-ridden. Many of the difficulties in this region are income related, gender and geographical inequalities, which keep many children in a state of poverty and vulnerability.

Furthermore, the mortality rates of children are high, as very few of these countries have access to health and vaccination services. More than 415,000 children continue to die every year before their fifth birthday.

Rates of chronic malnutrition are high too, where a quarter of the children under the age of five suffer malnutrition in Djibouti, Egypt, Iran and Syria and Yemen. As a result, UNICEF is fighting malnutrition by promoting good feeding practices, when mothers are breastfeeding for the first six months and helping parents understand the use of micronutrients, and providing access to safe water.

Other difficulties the children face in this region are:

  • Child labour,
  • Childhood marriage,
  • Recruitment to armed forces and groups,
  • 9/10 children experience violent forms of discipline,
  • Around 6 million children are orphaned,
  • Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen are four out of five countries worldwide that continue to apply the death penalty to children,
  • Female genital mutilation affects 93 per cent of women in Djibouti and 91 per cent in Egypt.

As a result of learning about the above difficulties and atrocities to children, I ask myself, how can many of children in those countries named, survive physically, never mind mentally and emotionally? It is horrific to know parts of the world are still so backward in their thinking, as the struggles the children have to go through will NOT positively effect a child’s well-being in all areas of their life.

If I were to reflect on the above and what I have learned about the struggles the children in the Middle East and North Africa region experience, I am horrified to know that countries like Qatar, Dubai, UAE and Saudi Arabia sit back more often than not and do not help their neighboring countries out of their problems, especially those problems that effect children in such a bad way! I am glad I chose this region to read more about, as it is important to know the struggles that are happening in different countries of the world, especially the country you are living in and countries you are surrounded by. It has certainly helped me identify the needs of the region and where one can help, especially as an educator. I have noticed that some children in my class, who come from very wealthy Qatari families have no idea about the struggles other children around and surrounding their country face, which has challenged me to inform them of this, as the future of the world is sitting in my classroom.



The Sexualization of Early Childhood

The topic of sexualization in early childhood is of great concern to me, having taught in quite a few cultures and countries already, I can see how sexualization is creeping into countries in such a subtle way that are even more reserved about this topic. If I look at the Qatari children that I teach, some of the music videos that they watch, songs they sing to or dance to, use body movements that are very suggestive and I would have never made when I was a little girl because I was not exposed to it. I believe media and technology, in general, is the biggest contributor to this sexual pandemic we see in this world.

The first example that I have witnessed that illustrates the exposure of young children to a highly sexualized environment is when I have seen some of the girls in my class in South Africa, coming to school on dress up days with heels, mini-skirts, crop tops and a lot of makeup on, and moving their hips in an exaggerated manner from side to side. I was taught a long time ago that by boys/men seeing a girl/woman’s belly button creates sexual ideas in boys/men’s head. So of course the second example that illustrates the exposure of young children to a highly sexualized environment is when girls show their belly button, which I cringe at because I just think that being a little girl, is about climbing trees, running and playing with friends in a light-hearted manner and not showing off body parts that do not need to be shown. The third example I have seen is during my teaching career, is how young children have spoken to me about how their mom or dad tell them to go and take a nap, but when they cannot get to sleep, they have gone into their parent’s bedroom and caught them in the action. This happened to a little boy who I taught in kindergarten and from that day, he changed and became very suggestive when touching the other girls in his class and even me- which of course I had stopped him and chatted to him about it.

The implications sexualization can have on children’s healthy development can have:

  • a negative impact on the psychological development of children, particularly on self-esteem, body image and understanding of sexuality and relationships,
  • a negative impact on a girl’s self-esteem as exposure to sexualizing messages contributes to girls defining their self-worth and popularity in terms of sexual attractiveness,
  • negative impact on a child’s eating habits, where an excessive focus on appearance and a narrow definition of attractiveness can contribute to the development of abnormal eating behaviors and lack of positive body image, which can lead to a negative self-image, depression, impaired sexual development in adolescence and poor self-protective behaviors in adolescent relationships,
  • negative impact on relationships with others as, sexualized themes are frequently associated with a depiction of aggression, and particularly depictions of male aggressive sexuality, and portrayal of girls and women as passive sexual objects.

Ways to combat the above can be by:

  • regulating media and psycho-educational approaches to provide children and adolescents with skills in media analysis and understanding of the impact of sexualized images and programs. These strategies can then help to develop healthy sexual development and body image in the face of media representation.
  • allowing school-based media literacy programs to have a positive effect on body image concerns in girls and what it means to be a woman and a man who treats the opposite sex well.
  • encouraging parents to read books such as “So Sexy So Soon” to their children, which will encourage open dialogue between parents and their children.

To conclude, the topic of how rife sexualization is in society and its impact on young children is so alarming that along with anti-bias education, we also need to add sexual education in early childhood setting, where this topic is brought up in a natural and sensitive manner and not leave this issue and only begin to speak about it in the adolescent years.