Saturday, August 18, 2012

Journey's End?


I titled this blog with this question, journey's end, because I'm wondering if the completion of my Masters is the end.  I actually know it's not.  Acquiring this wealth of knowledge requires me to pass it on.
I learned passion is as much a part of you as breathing.  It's with you morning, noon and night. 
I learned that there is a community of practicioners ready and waiting to be asked to share my passion, because it coincides with their own.
I learned of the many Early Childhood opportunities possible, globally.  If I had known about these opportunities or if they existed when I was younger I would have taken advantage of them.  Maybe not, it might have meant missing out on marrying my wonderful husband of 29 years who encouraged me through this journey to,"get your homework done".
My future goals are to pursue my Doctorate, but not immediately.  I made my daughters promise to have me committed if I even mention this within the next year.  I will be 60 on June 28, 2013 and my plans are to run a marathon on or close to my birthday to celebrate that milestone.  In the African culture you are considered an Elder at 60.  I like the respect that comes with the age but I'm, by no means, OLD.
I just found my favorite quote and it's exactly how I feel. "I used to want the words, She tried, on my tombstone.  Now I want, She did it"~Katherine Dunham.
To my colleagues who have journeyed with me to this point, WE DID IT and we're not through!!!
Please enjoy the following song, we are all teachers and this song tells us to teach the world.
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I wish you all the best and God bless.
Stephanie Higgins
P.O. Box 251 Forney, Texas 75126 (20 miles east of Dallas, if you're wondering)
email: or
I also have a Facebook page
           Dunham, K.,(2011).[Quote]. In J. Pine (Ed.), Book of African-American
 Quotations (pp. 53) Mineola, NY:  Dover Publications
Backer, B., Davis, B., Cook, R., & Greenway, R. (1971) I'd Like to Teach The World To Sing
 recorded  by TheRealBirdLady

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jobs/Roles in ECE Community: Internationally

Quality is not only a focus for child care in the United States but it is important in the international arena also.  The organizations I chose are:

  • UNESCO - Education For All (EFA) who has a Global Monitoring Report that provides information on the state of education globally
The position open at this time is one for a Research Officer. The ideal candidate will have a research background of at least four years.  The candidate must be academically trained at the post-graduate level.  Have a specialization in Education, Economics, Politics or other Social Science disciplines.
The salary is $95,420.00 if you have dependents or $89,075.00 if there are no dependents.  The researcher will provide quantitative analysis on certain themes, communicate in public forums and prepare written materials requiring excellent oral and written communication skills.  The closing date for the position is September 7, 2012  the job is located in Paris, France.

  • The HighScope Foundation -   This organization conducts research, develops curriculum, trains adults working with children and publishes material related to children.
The position posted was for Preschool, Elementary School and Middle School Teachers.  The job requires a degree in Education or related field.  The candidate must speak and write English well.  The person interested in this position must be creative, energetic and up for challenges.  He/she must participate in teacher training and professional development.  These positions are in Jakarta, Indonesia.

As we grow in our careers we venture into consulting on a part-time or full-time basis.  This next international job addresses those who may have a desire to pursue that realm of employment.
  • ICF International - This organization partners with clients worldwide to provide services and implement solutions that protects and improves the quality of life.
The position posted is that of Senior Consultant in Education and Training.  The ideal candidate for this job will have a proven track record in the educational field. The position requires organizational skills as well as strong presentation skills.  This candidate will have consultant experience in research and evaluation and have worked in a research environment.  Strength in analytical writing, report writing in high level quality English required.  Proposal writing is also required as is project management experience.  The candidate needs to be detail oriented, able to work independently, and speak another European Language.  This job is in Brussels, Belgium.


HighScope retrieved from

ICF International retrieved from

UNESCO retrieved from


Saturday, July 21, 2012

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

With my focus being on quality in Early Childhood programs, I found three diverse, yet similar jobs and or roles that interested me.

·        Grantee Specialist with the Office of Head Start (Linkedin)

I chose this job because it entails working with programs, throughout a Head Start region, with deficiencies, found through the monitoring process, which can hinder that program from having quality.  The Grantee Specialist is deployed by Head Start to help the program fix the problem.

Skills needed for this job are:  A minimum of a B.A. or B.S. Degree required, with a preference for a Master's degree, in a field related to Program Design and Management. Other related degrees in Business Management, Accounting, Public or Non-Profit Administration, and Project Management (with fiscal emphases) are acceptable (Linkedin).

At least 5 years of demonstrated experience in providing technical assistance required, specifically on issues pertaining to governance, management systems and administrative issues within Head Start. Knowledge of management and related issues are a must, and a demonstrated ability to apply such knowledge (Linkedin) .

Experience in a leadership position within a Head Start program (Executive Director, Assistant Director, Program Director, preferred  (Linkedin)

Experience working in management, PDM, Fiscal management preferred  (Linkedin)

Experience providing training at State, Regional or National Meetings and technical assistance to individual organizations preferred  (Linkedin)

In-depth knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) required   (Linkedin)

Excellent verbal and written communication skills required (Linkedin) .

Possess the ability to work independently as well as with a team (Linkedin) .

Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work with a variety of groups including governing bodies, staff, community leaders, and Head Start policy groups (policy councils and committees)  (Linkedin)

Ability to complete detailed paperwork in timely manner (Linkedin)

·        Compliance Manager with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

I chose this job because it entails ensuring that programs which have achieved accreditation, maintain their level of excellence and quality.

The skills required for this job are:  Minimum of a BA degree in Early Childhood, Human Development, Human Services, Business Administration or Non-profit Management (NAEYC).

Master's degree in related field highly valued. A minimum of five years' experience with child care quality improvement programs, and/or accreditation systems, is required. The candidate must have excellent communications skills, both verbal and written, including the ability to create high-quality training documents and the ability to write clear and concise documents for internal and external audiences (NAEYC).

 Have excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to show discretion and judgment in communication of sensitive and/or confidential information. Be able to create and monitor procedures and organizational chain of communications. Demonstrate information technology skills and understand how to utilize technology to manage information. The candidate must be able to manage competing demands and shifting timelines and priorities in a team-based, collaborative
environment (NAEYC).

·        Franklin Fellow (Careers), in this role I would be serving as a member for a community of service.

I chose this role because I could garner attention and support for Early Childhood and the ramifications of poor quality and it’s corollary to school readiness.  This Fellowship is through the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (Careers).

To qualify for this Fellowship:  If you are a U.S. citizen and have a minimum of five years of relevant, professional-level experience, you will have the opportunity to bring fresh thinking and best practices to the formulation and execution of U.S. foreign and development policy by working on global issues of vital importance to our
country (Careers).

These include the environment; counterterrorism; human rights; consular matters; HIV/AIDS and other trans-national diseases; trade, energy and financial policy; and many others. Also, you may interact with other government and international entities, such as the NSC, the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, other Executive Branch departments and the United Nations (Careers).

You will return from your fellowship year with a much-enhanced knowledge of foreign and development policy issues and government operations and culture  (Careers).

The United States spends more money on prisons and their occupants than on Early Childhood, schools and their occupants (CPBN).  We are building from the roof, down rather than from the foundation, up.  If we do the latter, then the former will have less prominence.


Retrieved from

Education vs. Incarceration:  The Real Cost of Failing Our Kids retrieved from

My url is

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I have chosen the following communities to share:
  • Texans Care for Children:  This community addresses policy for the children of Texas.  They are currently asking for input, through a survey for Texas Early Learning Council, of Early Childhood professionals regarding a State Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
I chose this community because I have mentioned, that my passion is quality in Early Childhood and they are working towards that goal in our field.

  • Dallas Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC):  This is a community of local child care providers and professionals under the umbrella of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
I chose this community because it provides a network of people dedicated to giving our best to children through Developmentally Appropriate Practice (Bredekamp, 1995). We meet monthly and share what is going on regarding upcoming policy decisions, job openings and other happenings in the world of Early Childhood in the Dallas, Texas area.
  • Texas Association for Infant Mental Health (TAIMH):  This community addresses issues related to helping infants developing
I chose this community because of my continuing interest in brain development and the research being done regarding the developing brain and the mental health of infants.  There are monthly trainings and/or seminars given for members to attend.

There have been a variety of job opportunities available  was interested in the field of Early Childhood.

Head Start has an Education Coordinator's position for a candidate with knowledge of Head Start Standards (afc) , Developmentally Appropriate Practice (Bredekamp, 1987) and three - five years experience working in a child care setting.  The person will be responsible for interacting with the Education Specialists in the Head Start center assigned.  The candidate will observe in the classrooms, train the Ed. Specialist and meet regularly with the Specialist and the Site Manager.  The candidate will help with the implementation of the math and science research project for the preschool classrooms in the program.  The candidate must have excellent communication skills oral and written. Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood required, Masters preferred.

ChildCareGroup is seeking a Site Manager for the Anderson Center in Garland, Texas.  The knowledge and skills needed are five years supervisory experience in Early Childhood. Knowledge of Head Start Standards, as Anderson is a Delegate Center.  Knowledge of center operations and budgeting.  Good communication skills.  Meeting time sensitive deadlines.  Good organizational skills. Must have Director's Certificate awarded by Texas Department of Protective and Reguilatory Services. Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood required, Masters preferred.

United Way has an opening for a Child Development Specialist who will work as part of a grant funded program.  The candidate will visit child care centers serving low-income families, county wide to recruit centers for quality improvement, observe in classrooms and gather information on the teaching staff.  Candidate must have computer skills.  Must be able to work independently with little supervision. Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood required.

Bredekamp, S. ed (1987).  Developmentally Appropriate Practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8.  Exp. ed.Washington, DC:  NAEYC
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Monday, February 20, 2012

I Need You

I always felt a sense of pride in my ability to communicate effectively.  As I journeyed through this course, I found myself lacking in some aspects of communication.  I was more ethically reponsible in my communication skills on my job, than I was with my family members.  I would sit, listen and give feedback all day at work.  At home I'd psuedolisten, multitask, and/or change the subject if the topic was painful to me or my family member attempting to talk to me. People, in my life, trust and respect me to give them my authentic self and this course has helped me give a better "me" to them.

My colleagues have provided me with insight, support and revelations with their comments and feedback.  I've needed all of the input as this journey continues. My contact information is:

Stephanie Higgins
P.O. Box 251 Forney, Texas 75126 (20 miles east of Dallas, if you're wondering)
email: or
I also have a Facebook page

Please enjoy the following song as I close this blog.  I wish all of you the best as your journey continues.  Please feel free to contact me if you feel I can help you in any way.

(Please click on the underlined Watch on YouTube after you click on the URL.  Thanks and best wishes to you all.)

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

It is finished ~ Jesus Christ

By the time the team is at the adjournment phase, the leader , who has moved into a more coaching role (Abudi 2010), will bring the group together  for a de-briefing.  What worked well?  Were there any problems?  Where was the most difficulty? Is there something we could have done differently?  How satisfied are we with the outcome?  These questions help to bring closure to the project.

Adjournment of any kind can be a happy occasion or it can be bittersweet.   When working in a high functioning group, the members have come to know each other quite well and the process of adjourning may be difficult but they all know it is necessary.

The project is finished.  How, then do we say good-bye to our colleagues?  In the best case scenario, all the individuals will see each other again.  They may still work in the same location; and having that in common will help ease the transition into the phase of not working on the project.  They may meet for lunch or at the local bar after work.  Sometimes the relationships become more social if they enjoy each other’s company and see they have common interests.
I chose my title, not to offend those with beliefs other than mine, but to illustrate how some projects continue and grow long after the initial group has dispersed.  As a Christian, I look at the team Jesus pulled together –forming (Abudi 2010).  They each had skills and talents necessary for the mission.  There were hot heads, analytical types, team members who didn’t like conflict, assertive types and some doubters and they start to get aquainted with each others personalities, opnions and ideas – storming (Abdui 2010).  Once the team was assembled they started working together, they were focused on the goals.  They started making significant progress as they worked together –norming (Abdui 2010). The group has been commissioned to do the will of their leader and do the day to day work.They know each other quite well, have traveled and went through rough times together; they are interdependent- performing (Abudi 2010).  The leader meets with the group in a garden to bring closure to the first part of the project.  He presents His mission to the world and says, "It is finished."  The group meets, the Leader joins them to adjourn and disperse the group to form other teams to further the original mission - adjourn (Abdui 2010).  
The performing group is the hardest to leave.  We have become interdependent and have gotten to know each other very well. We have spent time together focusing and striving for the same goal and we have enjoyed some good times as well as weathered some hard experiences to get to the finishing line.  There's nothing like shared experiences to bring people together.

I lead a staff development team.  Our closing ritual involved putting a string through a paper plate and hanging the plate behind you with the string around your neck.  Each person had to write something positive about a person on their plate and how they helped on the project.  We used the same colored marker and did not sign our names.  When each person turned their plate around, they read the comments aloud.  After the last person read the comments on their plate, I closed the exercise by saying to the group,"  Be proud, this is what people are saying behind your backs".

We've had to move on from several groups as we journey through our Master's program.  I enjoy the Discussion Boards and our Instructors.  We just start to become comfortable with each other and the 8 weeks end, some return, some don't but I learn something from each of my colleagues.  They will be and are missed but we must move on until we can all say at graduation, "It is finished".


Abdui, G. (2010).  The five stages of team development:  A case study  Retrieved from

John 19:30. King James Version (KJV)[Quote by Jesus Christ] Holy Bible

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are We Understanding Each Other?

I have a part-time job working at a Domestic Violence shelter on weekends.  My supervisor is a nice young lady, who exasperates me to no end.  Why?  She will ask me to do something or tell me something, which I feel I understand.  Then when I do the task or report where she asked me to go, it's all wrong!

An example is, last Sunday she called me and asked if I would work on Wednesday from 6:00pm until 10:00pm because she and the Client Advocate were transporting the clients to a workshop.  She told me she would call me back if the plans changed.

On Wednesday, I arrived at the shelter at 5:50pm and the Client Advocate looked at me strangely and asked why I was there.  I told her our supervisor had asked me on Sunday to come and cover the shelter while they went to a workshop.  She said, "Oh, she didn't call you and tell you it was cancelled?" That question set up a communication climate that was defensive (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009). I asked was that a rhetorical question, since obviously I had reported to work.  It takes 45 min. to drive to the shelter from my home and I was upset that I had made a trip, used my gas and changed my plans for nothing.  I felt this was an unproductive conflict as there was a negative impact (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) with my use of sarcasm.

One strategy I have used, is the challenging strategy (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009).  I am not confrontational and this strategy is usually not my first choice, but my attitude had provoked that communication climate (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009).  This strategy works when you want the person you are communicating with to know what they did or didn't do has caused you to have your current attitude.  I  went to my supervisor's office and asked her why she didn't call me to let me know the outing was cancelled.  She looked at me and asked why I didn't call to find out if she still needed  me to come to the shelter.  I reminded her that she had promised to call me if the plans changed but that was fine and I started to leave.  I was using the escapist strategy (O'Hair &Wiemann 2009).  I used this strategy to avoid anymore direct conflict. 

One communication channel (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) I will use with my supervisor, is email.  I told her I would email her, as a compromise (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009) so we would both know the plans.  If we had used that electronic channel (O'Hair & Wiemann 2009), this conflict would not have occurred.



O'Hair, D. & Wiemann, M. (2009).  Real Communication An Introduction Boston, MA: 
     Bedford/St. Martin's