Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sharing Web Resources

Based on a previous blog posting, I have chosen the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University ( as the web I would like to follow, subscribe, and share. As you know, I am also working toward my Masters in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Public Policy and Advocacy.

I googled in their website “advocacy” and came up with three reports. It is not hard to see why I chose A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. In my previous review of their website, I noticed that their website has six sections: Key Concepts, Activities, Resources, Faculty & Staff, News & Events, and About.

Within the section of Activities, I noticed 6 affiliates, more specifically, Frontiers of Innovation and Science of Adversity and Resilience – the latter on which I did a previous report. Dr. Jack Shonkoff (2009), the Director of the Center on the Developing Child, wrote about the “compelling need for innovation” (p.81) in early childhood care and education.

In the report by the Center on the Developing Child (2014), they outlined how they managed to walk the fine line of remaining dedicated to being scientists and researchers and yet advocating for investments in early childhood care and education. Dr. Shonkoff was a member of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee that wrote a report called From Neurons to Neighborhoods. At the end of the task, he declared that the report would be “much more than a report that was released, discussed for a few days, and then forgotten.” I can relate to his desire to make a difference that way.

The results of Dr. Shonkoff’s dedication to make From Neurons to Neighborhoods matter in people’s lives are now the Center’s collaborative relationships with National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and all others that are listed under Activities. One of the newer collaboration is the Frontiers of Innovation that was a brainchild of Dr. Shonkoff and other members of the NAS. Frontiers of Innovation (FOI) brings together “researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to develop creative new prevention and intervention strategies for disadvantaged young children and their families (Center on the Developing Child, 2014, p.22).

In the ten years that they spent developing the Center on the Developing Child and their collaborations with six other entities, they have learned and recommended the following five lessons to promote their ideas:
1.     It’s all about the people.
2.     Be true to the science
3.     Practice framing with patience and flexibility.
4.     Don’t underestimate the need for an infrastructure.
5.     Be a contributing piece of a larger landscape.

The report, A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child is a great read for anyone that is interested in the science of early childhood education and the need for public policy advocacy. I can appreciate the hard work that they all have put in the effort to promote investments in early childhood education.


Shonkoff, J. P. (2009). Mobilizing science to revitalize early childhood policy. Issues in Science & Technology, 26(1), 79–85.

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2014). A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Retrieved March 2015 from:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Getting to Know your International Contacts: Part 1

My communication with my conversation partner has been off to a slow start. But we are connected. Turns out she is a Research Instructional Officer at the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She will get back to me with contact information for a teacher in their Deaf Education programme.

The university has a collaborative relationship with Co-Enrollment in Deaf Education Progamme that is also sponsored by Jockey Club.

It is an “experimental [preschool and primary] programme on a form of education that potentially benefits both deaf and hearing students linguistically and academically…It focuses on how best to achieve bilingual development in a bi-modal learning environment and academic outcomes when teachers and students, deaf and hearing, co-enrol themselves in the education process” (Jockey Club, n.d.).

Their rationale for the Deaf Education Programme is as follows:
“Sign language, a visual language with a full-fledged grammatical system. Research has shown the advantage of using sign language to facilitate the development of spoken languages in the education process, both in speech as well as in spoken language literacy. Equally important for hearing students enrolled in this programme is the provision of a linguistically rich environment supported by a variety of pedagogical autonomous learning, literacy and academic attainment, as well as the nurturing of a positive social attitude towards students with special needs” (Jockey Club, n.d.).

Their website has good information on their overall objectives, advantages of sign bilingualism, and advantages of co-enrollment. Under Advantages of Co-Enrollment are some “buzz” words that we studied in our classes like learner-centered, learning with individualized attention to cater for specific learning needs. It is a website that is worth checking out.
Meantime, she suggested that I watch a video of their program. It has both Chinese and English captions. It shows how their program works.


Centre for Sign Linguistics & Deaf Studies. (n.d.).
Retrieved March 2015 from:

Jockey Club Sign Bilingualism and Co-Enrolment in Deaf Education Programme. (n.d.) About. Retrieved March 2015 from:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sharing Web Resources

I subscribe to an email newsletter from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The center attempts to do four things:

* Building a unified science of health, learning, and behavior to explain the early roots of lifelong impairments;

* Leading the design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative program and practice models that reduce preventable disparities in well-being;

* Catalyzing the implementation of effective, science-based public policies through strategic relationships and knowledge transfer; and

* Preparing future and current leaders to build and leverage knowledge that promotes the healthy development of children and families and brings high returns to all of society.

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University also collaborates with six other entities that share the common belief that “healthy child development is the foundation of economic prosperity, strong communities, and a just society” (Key Concepts, n.d.). Those six groups are:
            *Frontiers of Innovation
            *Global Children’s Initiative
            *National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs 
*National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
            *Science of Adversity and Resilience
            *Students, Education, and Leadership Development

In their March 2015 email newsletter, there’s a new working paper #13 called Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience.

Based on a personal experience, and now professional interest, I am interested in how children and adults are resilient toward certain experiences, and why others are able to respond constructively to adversity. Their working paper #13 tells that there are two reasons for people’s resilience or the lack of resilience.

It does not quite matter what kind of adversity such as poverty, parental substance abuse, parental mental illnesses, stresses of war, or chronic neglect, “the single most common finding is that children who end up doing well have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption” (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2015, p.1).

The caring adult who has a close relationship with a young child would need to provide a personalized responsiveness that could include a discussion about the specific incident that prompt the discussion.

The paper also suggested that we could strengthen children’s responses to adversity “through the development of explicit skills and capabilities that support cognitive flexibility, goal-setting, problem-solving, and the ability to resist impulsive behavior” (p.5). In one of my class observations of a NAEYC-certified child development center, I will never forget how their lead teacher talked with children ages 3-4 who become a bit rowdy and started running around the room. She got down to children’s level and asked them if they remembered the rules. She also asked them if they knew why they had such rules. When one of the children replied, she assured them that, yes, the behavior can get other people hurt and that we run only when we are outside.
What a way to teach children explicit skills. She was giving them tools for self-regulation.

Ultimately, the paper had four suggestions for potential policy and programs. “All prevention and intervention programs would benefit from focusing on combinations of the following factors: 1) facilitating supportive adult-child relationships; 2) building a sense of self-efficacy and perceived control; 3) providing opportunities to strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities; and 4) mobilizing sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions” (p.10).

Key Concepts: Activities. (n.d.).  Center on the Developing Child: Harvard University. Retrieved March 2015 from

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2015). Supportive relationships and active skill-building strengthen the foundations of resilience. Center on the Developing Child. Retrieved March 2015 from: file:///Users/marlahatrak/Downloads/Working%20Paper%2013%20-%20Resilience%20(1).pdf

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Establishing Professional Contacts and Expanding Resources

I have lab colleagues who are from Hong Kong, Russia, and Turkey. I asked them to connect me to early childhood educators in their respective countries. I am waiting to hear from them to get connected to those professionals. I suppose it will take a while before I am able to conduct a pen-pal conversation with my international connections. I also asked my son who is teaching English in Beijing, China. He cautioned me that it would be most likely that they don’t speak English enough to correspond with me.

As for the early childhood website, I have chosen Center on the Developing Child because the Center’s goal fits my professional aspirations in public policy and advocacy. Their goal is “meaningful change in policy and practice that produces substantially larger impacts on the learning capacity, health, and economic and social mobility of vulnerable young children” (Center on the Developing Child, n.d. ¶4). They are also concerned about impacts on the whole society.

The Center shares a lot of resource on a wide-ranging area of topics. It has collaborative relationships with Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.

I also would like to review Council for Exceptional Children as their focus is on children with special needs.


About the Center: Mission. (n.d.) Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Retrieved March 2015 from: