When I was a child, I told everyone that I was going to have eight children when I grew up! As an adult, I retained my love for children and pursued a career in early childhood education (and raised just two lovely children of my own).
I began my career as a preschool teacher and facilitator of parent education classes. It was when I became a master teacher at a college early childhood lab school that I discovered how much I enjoyed teaching and mentoring adult students to become early childhood professionals. I completed my Ph.D. and assumed the role of education coordinator for a large urban Head Start, providing technical supervision, leadership, and training to 224 Head Start teachers and assistants. Increasingly aware of the need for qualified early childhood professionals, I began teaching part-time at UCD and acting as Principal Investigator for several personnel preparation and early childhood mental health grants. My journey at UCD evolved into clinical professor and program leader for Early Childhood Education.
My work and research in early childhood mental health paralleled the growing evidence for a compelling link between social/emotional development, behavior, and school success. Research over the last decade confirms my belief that young children need a minimum level of social and emotional competence to successfully interact with others and benefit from the learning environment of the school setting. Early childhood programs that have a focus on social skills serve as an important foundation for young children's later school readiness, social adjustment, and overall well-being, with demonstrated improved outcomes related to drop out and attendance, grade retention, and special education referrals.
My students at University of Colorado Denver:
The mission of the ECE program is to prepare early childhood professional leaders with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of young children and their families within a rapidly changing and diverse society. Our program aims to promote leaders who share a commitment to equity and excellence and an understanding of the strengths and needs of a diverse student population in order to optimize developmental, academic, and behavioral outcomes for children from birth to age eight. It is my hope that our ECE/ECSE graduates leave our program with the disposition and skills to honor the social and cultural backgrounds of all children and families and to advocate for meaningful and equitable early childhood environments and learning experiences for all young children.
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:
- Curriculum and Program Development - ECE 5010
- Administrative Seminar - ECE 5040
- Working with Parents and Families - ECE 5060
- Stress, Violence, and Behavior Challenges in Young Children's Lives - ECE 5202
- Advanced Child Growth and Development - EPSY 5100
- Social and Cognitive Development and Disabilities - ECE 5070
- ECSE Infant/Toddler, Preschool, and Primary Practica - ECE 6910, 6912, and 6914
My research interests:
- Early childhood education training and teacher mentoring
- Social and emotional development
- Enhancing social competence in young children
- Early childhood mental health
I enjoy photography (my favorite subject is my beautiful grandbaby girl), gardening, and taking power walks along the Highline Canal. Someday I hope to get back to playing the piano, but for now, the piano is mostly a piece of furniture that I dust weekly.
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