Sunday, December 14, 2014

EDUC 8853, Module 8 Assignment: Final Thoughts

My overall experience with EDUC 8853: Influences of Family, Culture, and Society in Early Childhood, has been a wonderful learning journey both professionally and personally. I have had a wonderful professor who has motivated us to learn about ourselves and others and the relationships formed between our families, our students, and each other. I am part of an outstanding cohort of early childhood educators that I have learned so much from. They are a great support on this journey. 

Some of the course materials I connected with and enjoyed most are Anne Fadiman's book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and one of our texts, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. The Anne Fadiman book is an ethnography chronicling the story of an Hmong family's interactions with the health care system in California and the miscommunication and culture conflict that obstructs her treatment. The overall theme of cultural dissonance was a powerful learning tool for myself to remember to treat all my families with dignity and respect and not forget they are the primary caregivers as experts on their child. Louise Derman-Sparks' text on anti-bias education is a great resource and forced me to dig deeper and be reflective as an educator. Specifically, looking at biases and microaggressions. By applying the four anti-bias educational goals, I will be supporting a learning community for all children. 

In researching my challenge area, I also connected with articles and studies as well as with early childhood professionals I interviewed. My challenge area is prenatal risk factors with the subtopic of health. The research for my challenge area is most applicable to my work as an early childhood professional in that I hope to use my research and degree to help the women of my community receive quality prenatal health care and to help the children in my community from age zero to three so that they can have the best foundation for school and for life. In reading the articles and studies, research states cognitive and behavioral problems and school readiness are related to prenatal care and health (Reichman, 2005) and the health status of a child and their education are inextricably linked. A child must be physically and emotionally healthy in order to learn, and a child and the child’s family must be educated in order to stay healthy (Novello, 1992). I believe quality prenatal care and quality education from age zero to three is important for a child to be ready to be successful in school and in life and I hope to help the families of my community be healthy, safe, and successful. Thank you, Cissy

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J.O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Novello, A. C., DeGraw, C., & Kleinman, D. V. (1992). Healthy children ready to learn: An essential collaboration between health and education. Public Health Reports, 107(1), 3. Retrieved December 7, 2014 from 

Reichman, N.E. (2005). Low birth weight and school readiness. Future of Children15(1), 91-116. Retrieved from the Walden University Library databases at

Matt Damon and Educators

Good evening. A friend of mine posted an article on Matt Damon giving a wonderful speech regarding teachers and his mother, an early childhood educator and author, and I wanted to share it. Here is the link to the article. Matt Damon's mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, is a founder of Defending the Early Years (DEY), a non-profit project whose purpose is to encourage educators to speak out about current policies that are affecting the education of young children. Enjoy! Thank you, Cissy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Women's Policy Forum

Good evening. Friday I attended the Women's Policy Forum's 2014 Inaugural Symposium on Emerging Issues in downtown Fort Worth. The Women's Policy Forum is an organization of women who investigate and support policies and initiatives that will effect positive change for Tarrant County. The keynote speaker was Ann Beeson, a social justice attorney, who launched a non-profit organization to initiate social change in Texas communities. There were also breakout sessions. It was a wonderful symposium and I thoroughly enjoyed both the keynote speaker and the breakout sessions and I enjoyed meeting women who were excited about making a positive, social change in Fort Worth. I look forward to learning more, attending more sessions, and helping out. 

 Women's Policy Forum

Thursday, November 13, 2014

EDUC 8853, Module 6 Assignment: The Interview Process

Good evening. I am posting tonight on my experiences with the interview process in relation to my semester course project. For my course project, I am researching prenatal risk factors with the subtopic of health. A piece of the course project is interviewing practitioners in the field to gain knowledge. I want to help the women in my community receive quality prenatal health care so that their child is healthy and a good foundation is laid for their development and education. By speaking with experts, I hope to gain knowledge of resources and learn from their expertise so that I can pass on that knowledge to the women in my community.

So far, my two interviews have gone well and I feel they have been successful. I have learned a lot from both women and I am anxious to share the resources with my community. One idea I connected with was the importance of establishing relationships with families and communities. I have always thought this and agreed with this, but to hear it from an expert backed up with success stories is another thing all together. The value of gaining trust from your families so that they and their children are successful and happy is so important. And then to be able to work with a parent that was your student and is now the parent is wonderful!

To date, I have researched and submitted three annotated bibliographies, I have submitted information on special interest groups to learn from them, and I have submitted information on interviewing two experts. One question I am still wondering on is why does Tarrant County have the highest infant mortality rate in the State of Texas and one of the highest in the country? I hope to learn enough and discover important resources to share with the women in my community to lower that number. Thank you, Cissy

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Article: "Teacher Spends Two Days as a Student and is Shocked at What She Learns"

Good morning. I would like to share an article I read by Valerie Strauss. It is very interesting and eye-opening. I think every teacher and principal should do this experiment. Enjoy! Thank you, Cissy

"Teacher Spends Two Days as a Student and is Shocked at What She Learns" by Valerie Strauss

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Council of the Great City Schools - Call For Change

This week at the Fall Conference of the Council of the Great City Schools, leaders are meeting to discuss how to improve the academic and social outcomes of boys and young men of color. This Council of Great City Schools call-to-action was made at a White House event featuring President Obama. School districts across the country, including Fort Worth ISD, attended a conference titled "United to Make a Difference" where leaders are learning effective strategies to end the the achievement gap and address the issues that urban districts face affecting males of color.

In 2010, the Council of the Great City Schools published a report indicating that young black males in America are in a state of crisis. The report, A Call For Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools, led to Council testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families and prompted the organization to release a comparison analysis of Hispanic students titled, Today's Promise, Tomorrow's Future: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Hispanics in Urban Schools.

The Call For Change study called for a White House initiative noting that the education, social, and employment outcomes of African American males are equivalent to a "national catastrophe" requiring coordinated national attention. Since the release of the reports, the Council established internal and external advisory committees to guide the urban school coalition on its work with males of color.

Here are links to the documents and webpages:

A Call For Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban School

Today's Promise, Tomorrow's Future: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Hispanics in Urban Schools

"United to Make a Difference" preconference at the Council of the Great City Schools

Fort Worth ISD's Pledge 

Council of the Great City Schools' "My Brother's Keeper" Initiative 

Friday, October 3, 2014

EDUC 8853: Course Project - Prenatal Care and Health

For my course project, I have chosen the challenge area of prenatal risk factors with the subtopic of health. Prenatal health is a factor in a child’s development and affects their school readiness and their learning. American babies, compared with those from other developed nations, are receiving inadequate prenatal care and less time at home with their parents during the first year of life (Lally, 2010). I am interested in assisting the women in my community receive quality prenatal care so that they have a safe pregnancy and so that their child has the best opportunity to be healthy, happy, and successful. In addition, I believe early childhood education is the foundation to a child’s overall education and a mom who has quality prenatal care and has assistance for their child’s development and learning from age birth to three, their child will be successful and ready to enter Pre-K or K. It is during the first few years of life that early experience starts shaping the foundational learning structures of the brain (Lally, 2010). 
I chose this topic/challenge area because I am personally and professionally interested in this topic and it is an area I feel I can make positive social change occur in my community. Prenatal care and health are important for a child’s development and school readiness. Research has shown that cognitive and behavioral problems and school readiness are related to prenatal care and health (Reichman, 2005). 
As an early childhood educator I have taught Pre-K, and I have worked with the Parents as Teachers Liaison in my library when I was an elementary school librarian. In both situations I worked with the parents and children and I saw a need to help parents and children before they came to school. I believe good prenatal care and health is an important piece to a child's development and their education.
One question I have is, there are wonderful resources for pregnant women and for women with young children available in Fort Worth, Texas, how can I help women access these resources? 
Thank you and I look forward to learning from my professor and colleagues as we research our topics.
Lally, J. (2010). School readiness begins in infancy. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(3), 17-21. Retrieved from the Walden University Library databases at
Reichman, N.E. (2005). Low birth weight and school readiness. Future of Children, 15(1), 91-116. Retrieved from the Walden University Library databases at

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Influences of Family, Culture, and Society in Early Childhood - Fall 2014

Hello. This fall I will be studying the influences of family, culture, and society in early childhood. I am looking forward to the learning and to working with my professor and classmates. I will post more soon. Thank you, Cissy

Saturday, August 16, 2014

20th Anniversary trip to Belize

My husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in Belize. We had a wonderful time! Belize is beautiful!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Taking a break to Zumba!

This week I was in Houston, TX attending my doctoral residency. I met so many wonderful people including fellow students and faculty. There is a beautiful park across the street from the hotel and the convention center and they have a weekly Zumba class. One of my new friends and I went and had a blast!
Thanks! Cissy

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Doctoral Residency in Houston, TX

This week I have been in Houston, TX attending my doctoral residency in Houston, TX. It has been an exciting and informative week! I have enjoyed meeting faculty and staff and classmates face to face. I look forward to working towards my project study in hopes of helping the students of Fort Worth ISD. Thanks! Cissy

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Applied Research in Education - Summer of 2014

This summer I am learning about Applied Research in Education. I am looking forward to learning about research methods and how I can apply them to my education and to my work. Thank you! Cissy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Child Development, Learning & Culture

Hello! In today's blog post I would like to share some resources, quotes, and sources for child development, learning, and culture.

One resource I use as a teacher with my students, with my parents, and personally is PBS' website has so much information and they are constantly updating their site. As an educator there is a wealth of information for children, parents, and the classroom. On their Child Development and Early Childhood Development site there is information for parents to track their child's development; there are parenting tools; there are videos; and there is information on how to talk to your kids. On the PBS website there is also a Parenting site. This site also has videos, book suggestions, and a link to subscribe to their monthly newsletter.  The other sites on PBS are Food & Fitness; Fun & Games; and Birthday Parties. I give my parents the links to these webpages for resources. Also, as an educator I use PBS frequently. Their Educator site is wonderful and has curriculum, videos, book suggestions, and images for use. The different sites are PBS Learning Media, Educators, PBS Educational Media, PBS Teachers, NOVA, PBS Newshour, Nature, PBS TeacherLine, Evolution, and lesson plans for The Supreme Court. I use this site for information and resources and I teach my students to use PBS because it is a safe site for children. For children PBS Kids is an awesome site. PBS Kids has games, videos, and homework help. I recommend this site to my students.

There are many websites and blogs for resources on child development and culture. One blog is by Larry Ferlazzo. His blog has information for educators for ESL, ELL, and EFL. He also lists sites for learning about the world's different cultures. I chose this site because I liked his "best of" lists with information. Another blog is by Anju Bhargava, Ph.D. entitled Child Development Connect: This is a Blog Dedicated to Promoting Optimal Cognitive, Physical, Social, and Emotional Development in Children. Dr. Bhargava has guests on her blog sharing information. I like this site because I like the different guests she has on speaking on different topics. One website that gives information on how culture influences child development is the Melody Arons Center website. On this page they discuss a recent book published by Zero to Three. I chose this site because Zero to Three teaches educators and parents how to nurture children and their development. In the January 2009 edition of SGI Quarterly they feature articles on Parents & Children, Parenting Across Cultures, and more. I chose this website because SGI Quarterly approaches things from a Buddhist standpoint on peace, culture, and education. I like this because they encourage their members to live constructive lives and contribute positively to society. Another blog discussing the influence of culture is a student named Shima's blog. She is a student at a university in Vancouver. On her post regarding the influence of culture she describes how to create a multicultural classroom. I chose this because it is so important that as educators we respect diversity and support all cultures.

There are many resources relating to child development and learning. One website is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). On their site they list The 12 Principles of Child Development and Learning that Inform Practice. I chose this site because the NAEYC is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children. Another website is the Head Start website. They list The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. The revised framework document represents the foundation of the Head Start Approach to School Readiness. It aligns with and builds from the five essential, or core, domains of birth to five school readiness, to identify critical areas of learning and development for 3 to 5 year children, including dual language learners and children with disabilities. I chose this site because of the work they do for children ages birth to five from low-income families. 

"Nothing you do for a child is ever wasted." Garrison Keillor

"The soul is healed by being with children." Fyodor Dostoevsky The Idiot

"Truly wonderful the mind of a child is." Yoda

"Adversity gives birth to greatness. The greater the challenges and difficulties we face, the greater opportunity we have to grow and develop as people. A life without adversity, a life of ease and comfort, produces nothing and leaves us with nothing. This is one of the indisputable facts of life." Daisaku Ikeda, SGI President

Thank you for visiting my blog today and I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you! Cissy

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Article on creative thinking and early learning

Hello. I forgot to add this article on creative thinking and early learning in my last blog posting. Thanks, Cissy

Design Thinking

Design Thinking / Investigative Learning / Creative Confidence - these are ways of incorporating human behavior into design and thinking. Design thinking was coined by David Kelley. 

David Kelley is an American businessman, entrepreneur, designer, engineer, and teacher. He is founder, chairman, and managing partner of the design firm IDEO and a professor at Stanford University with the "D" school. He problem solves by bringing people from all backgrounds and fields together (Anthropologists, Medical Doctors, Engineers, Businessmen, etc.) and by using empathy towards the consumer, they solve problems for companies. For example, remodeling school furniture. His people observed students to see what they needed and they revamped the school desk by combining empathy with art and with engineering. On IDEO's webpage is a link to David Kelley on 60 Minutes

IDEO  is an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. Also on IDEO's webpage is David Kelley in a TED video

David Kelley and IDEO are helping the Henry Ford Learning Institute restructure its curriculum to integrate innovation and creativity in addition to its traditional academics. They are also working with Ormondale Elementary School in reimagining teaching for 21st century students. 

I really like and agree with David Kelley and his design thinking approach to education. One reason is using empathy to problem solve. By putting ourselves in other's shoes we can relate to the problems of others and when a solution is offered I think it would be received better because you took the time to understand the problem from someone else's viewpoint and not just a band-aid type solution. Another reason is if we want our students to be prepared for the workforce as teachers we need to help prepare our students and integrating curiosity and creativity and innovation while being able to work with a group will be important. It's important for jobs now and it will be more so when our students enter the workforce.

I am proud to say that in Fort Worth ISD where I work we have programs of choice at every middle and high school. Students can attend any middle or high school they desire and participate in any program of choice. When thinking of design thinking I think of William James Middle School and their program of choice - The College Readiness Academy. They have a state-of-theart engineering center for problem-based engineering studies. Students work with engineering principles and designs, construct prototypes, and explore with gadgets and test materials. Students are challenged to develop solutions to open-ended problems that develop out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the challenging electives include Robotics, Introduction to Engineering, Cultural Studies and Junior Cadet Core. 

We also offer schools of choice. Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center is an elementary school of choice. I think they are utilizing design thinking in their curriculum. The applied learning approach encourages children to be independent learners while working as members of a team to apply classroom learning to new situations. In addition to team work, an applied learning education emphasizes: communication skills, especially writing;  and awareness of positive complex behavior such as problem-solving. Applied Learning students work with businesses and organizations outside the classrooms to complete hands-on, real-world, child-centered projects within authentic learning situations. 

Design thinking and having creative confidence has influenced my thoughts on effective learning experiences for children. I would love to see design thinking incorporated into more classroom settings. David Kelley mentions Dr. Albert Bandura and his "guided mastery" of new confidence into self efficacy. I like this because the best way to gain confidence in your creative ability is through action, taking one step at a time, and through experiencing a series of small successes (David Kelley, chapter 8, Creative Confidence). I think this is so true when working with children. So many of my students had to gain confidence in themselves before they could even start learning.

Some questions I have are:
  1. Do you feel the same about design thinking? 
  2. Do you think it should be used more in classrooms?
  3. How would you incorporate this way of thinking and teaching into your classroom?
Here is a link to the Creative Confidence blog.  I really enjoyed learning about David Kelley and IDEO and design thinking and I hope to incorporate some of his ideas into my  teaching. Thanks, Cissy

"Few people think about it or are aware of it. But there is nothing made by human beings that does not involve a design decision somewhere."  Bill Moggridge

Week of the Young Child

Good afternoon. The Week of the Young Child is coming soon on April 6-12, 2014. Below is information on the Week of the Young Child by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) 

"The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association, with nearly 80,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates. 
The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families." (NAEYC, 22 March 2014). 
Here is a link to Walden University's Early Childhood Organization's (WUECO) Facebook page. 
Here is a link to an article on the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University's website entitled Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Development
I'm looking forward to celebrating the Week of the Young Child with my students and my nieces and nephews. Thanks, Cissy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello. On the Center for Public Policy Priorities webpage is a blog for The State of Texas Children to support their partnership and campaigns. Thanks, Cissy

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Questions regarding play

I wanted to add a couple of questions regarding play:
  1. What are some ways you can add play to your early childhood classroom?
  2. What are some ideas you can share with your parents regarding the importance of play?
  3. What are some ways you can convince your administrator that students need recess? 
Here is an article from the National Association for the Education of Young Children discussing recess.

Thank you! Cissy

The importance of play - locally, statewide, nationally, and globally

The importance of play is seen locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. Locally Fort Worth ISD is working with stakeholders to ensure our students are successful. Fort Worth ISD just overwhelming passed a bond and one piece of that bond is universal Pre-K. The importance of play is seen statewide in that the state of Texas passed House Bill 5 and while its aim is to lower the number of end of course exams for high schoolers and to help encourage high school students go to college, the state is rethinking testing in the lower grades. The importance of play is seen nationally with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and its research promoting play. Globally the International Play Association promotes play as a right for all children.

I have always promoted the importance to play as a teacher and did not realize how far reaching this topic is. In researching information on play and resources, webpages, and blogs I found a webpage listing the top 50 childhood education blogs and wanted to share it with my classmates. I think this would also be a wonderful resource for a new teacher to get ideas. Thank you, Cissy

The importance of play in the classroom

Good morning. On the Texas State University's webpage I found their child development center. I particularly like the quote on the page from Fred Rogers: "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." Fred Rogers 1928-2003.

The mission of the School of Family & Consumer Sciences Texas State Child Development Center is to provide a model early education and child care program for University students, staff, faculty, and the community.

I am posting this link because when I researched organizations in the state of Texas for play and child development it was the first on the list. After discussing play and its importance with the Executive Director for Early Childhood in my school district (Fort Worth ISD) she suggested I look for local, state, and national organizations to join and research. Dr. Rangel and I agree that play in early childhood is key for children to develop and to be successful as learners. Texas State University is located in San Marcos, TX, south of Austin, TX and I'm assuming the names of the different age groups for the children are named after flowers (daisies, buttercups, tiger lillies) because of Lady Bird Johnson. Lady Bird Johnson was Lyndon B. Johnson's wife and she founded the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX to protect and preserve native plants.

Texas Christian University in Fort Worth has a preschool program for Special Education students called KinderFrogs.  TCU also has a partnership with the Fort Worth ISD with their student teachers and also leadership programs for Principals. We are working together to have the best qualified teachers and administrators for our students.

Play in early childhood is so important and I look forward to legislative changes to bring more play back into early childhood classrooms and less focus on testing in Pre-K, K, and 1st grade classrooms. I found the Southern Early Childhood Association's webpage and their mission is to bring together preschool, kindergarten, and primary teachers and administrators, caregivers, program directors, and individuals working with and for families, to promote quality care and education for young children. Within the SECA I found the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children. I found an interesting article on the expulsion rates of preschoolers. I want to research further if one cause is the lack of play and the focus of testing in Pre-K and K classrooms. I know there are other factors but I am curious if the lack of play is one.

On the International Play Association's webpage I found the IPA summary of the United Nations General Comment number 17, Article 31 promoting the Child's Right to Play. There is a video promoting this article.

I look forward to discussing this topic further with my classmates. Thank you, Cissy

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ready Rosie early childhood videos on the Fort Worth ISD website

Hello. I'm very excited to share a link to the Ready Rosie early childhood videos on the Fort Worth ISD website. Thanks! Cissy

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Good evening Dr. DiSpagna and classmates. In today's module 2 discussion I mention the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes' favorite game, Calvinball. Below are some pictures of Calvin and Hobbes playing Calvinball. I add these because I loved reading Calvin & Hobbes. One reason was because of Calvin's vivid imagination. Enjoy! Thank you, Cissy

Me at three

Good evening Dr. DiSpagna and classmates. Attached is a picture of me when I was three. I'm "skiing" with my mom and dad in Ruidoso, NM. I can't quite remember this age but I do remember starting around age four and I can remember how vivid my imagination was. This was two years before I started Kindergarten and almost three years before my sister was born. Those were two huge events in my early life. Now I have a niece who is three (picture of me and her before going to the zoo) and I love spending time with her! She is so bright and so inquisitive and I love watching her develop. Thank you, Cissy

Introduction-My Early Childhood Blog

Good evening Dr. DiSpagna and classmates. My name is Cissy Mattingly and I'm a Coordinator for the Fort Worth ISD in Fort Worth, TX. I am currently working on my Ed.D. in Early Childhood Education. I am exciting to blogging about early childhood and I look forward to reading my classmates blogs. I taught Pre-K and I was a librarian before becoming a Coordinator. I know it is said all the time, children are our future, but I truly believe it and I hope to help the children and parents of my community. I believe we should help children gain access to every possible resource to help them be successful. Thank you, Cissy

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Good evening Dr. DiSpagna and classmates. I am so exited to be blogging in our class. I look forward to visiting your blogs. Thank you, Cissy