Dean’s Fund will move Preschool for All initiative forward

City/county models of culturally responsive preschools: Community-informed equity investments

Assistant Professor of Practice Ingrid Anderson has two goals: make affordable preschool available for all of Multnomah County and ensure that families experience preschools that are free from racism, bias, and discrimination.

In October 2017, Anderson, who supports the work of PSU’s interdisciplinary Early Childhood Council, co-convened stakeholders in an event to discuss interest in supporting affordable preschool for all Multnomah County children, ages 3 to 5 years old. Over 200 attendees participated in the day-long symposium that drew officials from state and county agencies. They were overwhelmingly in favor of moving forward.

The Dean’s Fund for Excellence provided Anderson and GSE partners with key start-up funding to begin exploring the project. She will engage resources in a survey of large cities like Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle that already have universal preschool programs in place. Once data is collected, her team will analyze it to discover common successful patterns, conduct a literature review, and write a white paper focused on city and county models of culturally responsive preschools working to support community-informed equity investments. Continue reading

New early childhood book published by Will Parnell

Professor Will Parnell, chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Department (CI), has published a new early childhood education book, Meaning Making in Early Childhood Research, a collection of 11 essays by 17 international early childhood teacher education researchers, professors, and teacher-researchers. He is co-author and editor of the book with Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer in early childhood education at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

Meaning Making in Early Childhood Research (Routledge) asks readers to rethink research in early childhood education through qualitative research practices reflective of arts-based pedagogies. This collection explores how educators and researchers can move toward practices of meaning making in early childhood education. The text’s narrative style provides an intimate portrait of engaging in research that challenges assumptions and thinking in a variety of international contexts, and each chapter offers a way to engage in meaning making based on the experiences of young children, their families, and educators. Continue reading

PSU Infant/Toddler Mental Health program nets $110,000 for scholarships

The Ford Family Foundation has awarded PSU funding for 10 students in the Infant/Toddler Mental Health (ITMH) Graduate Certificate program. This grant will support recipients in rural Oregon who are working with families who have children ages 0–36 months and will increase capacity in infant mental health throughout Oregon.

Ford Family Foundation Program Officer Robin Hill-Dunbar said, “Providing access to coursework related to infant mental health in rural Oregon is critical. It is a pleasure to support students in the pursuit of the PSU graduate certificate and the Infant/Toddler Mental Health Endorsement. Our youngest ones and their caregivers are counting on those who serve them to understand and be able to best support their complex and unique needs.”

The project is led by Professor Ingrid Anderson, who has over 25 years of experience administering early childhood programs locally and regionally. Faculty who teach in the program are practitioners in social work, migrant head start, early learning hubs, parent education, and research. Continue reading

$1.5 million grant approved for Pell-eligible student families in PSU campus child care

Larissa Manning retrieves her daughter, Sage, after a busy day at Helen Gordon Child Development Center. The new CCAMPIS grant helps student parents like Manning with childcare funds so she can continue her studies at PSU.

Early Childhood Professor Will Parnell and Helen Gordon Child Development Center Director Ellie Justice announced the awarding of a fourth $1.5 million federal grant to support the 2018–22 Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program. Stipulating strong connections with the master’s degree program in early childhood and an accredited full-day early childhood program, this grant offers low-income student families subsidies to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center (HGCDC). The new four-year award prioritizes support for student families eligible for Pell Grants; it covers up to 50 percent of child care tuition.

The grant also funds HGCDC teaching positions, classroom and program enhancements, and graduate assistantships to formally connect the early childhood master’s program and early childhood research activities with classroom practices. Continue reading

GSE faculty member John Nimmo generates global early childhood documentary

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What is a right? What rights do children have in their schools, families and communities? And most importantly, What are the rights young children believe they should have in order to reach their full potential and participate in their community? These are the questions early childhood Professor John Nimmo pondered as he embarked on a film project entitled “Voices of Children,” for the World Forum Foundation (WFF).

John Nimmo, assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, is working with a team of multinational educators to discover the central values of our youngest global citizens –ages birth to eight years old. He is a member of the Working Initiative on Children’s Rights, for the WFF, an international consortium of educators working to improve the lives of young children around the world.

Nimmo’s global committee of early childhood educators and videographers sought to establish the voice of children in a documentary that would help adults understand the point of view of children. The group wondered what children actually knew about their rights. How did they feel about their place in society? And what was truly important to them?

For Nimmo, it was a unique chance to work with early childhood professionals from around the world. “What would it look like for videographers and social scientists from Brazil to come together with educators from the United States and Singapore and come to India and think about not only how we listen and how we speak about rights but also how we document them and make them visible?” said Nimmo, who has spent 30+ years working in early childhood education in multiple countries and cultures. “In the process, our goal was to unpack the typically Western and individualistic concept of rights and develop a more complex and culturally inclusive understanding.” Continue reading

Associate Professor Will Parnell publishes book on school readiness

Parnell_pubThe world is changing rapidly, both outside and inside the classroom. Early childhood educators have new challenges every day that provide opportunities to rethink and reimagine approaches to conventional early childhood instruction. In a new volume, co-edited by professors Will Parnell (Curriculum and Instruction) and Jeanne Marie Iorio, a total of 27 early childhood experts from across the United States, Canada, and Australia (as well as Parnell and Iorio) offer insight and innovative practices for working with the youngest students. The book, Rethinking Readiness in Early Childhood Education: Implications for Policy and Practice, is part of Bloch and Swadener’s Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood series.

“The current early childhood readiness discourse positions the child and family as deficit,” said Parnell. “Focused on rethinking readiness, our text opens doors to seeing what is possible when the experiences of children and families from across the world are honored and central to policy and educational decision making.”

Continue reading