The information and knowledge that you gain from this course will help you develop five Action Plans (one for each week of the course) focused on responding to contemporary issues and events that impact young children. For each Action Plan, you will ask yourself a form of the following questions:
Besides helping you synthesize your learning each week, each of the Action Plans you create may be useful to your future work with children and families and a resource that you can share with other early childhood professionals.
The focus of each Action Plan is as follows:
Note: The Action Plans may or may not be directly tied to the content covered in each week.
This week, you have been learning about the ways that children are continually influenced by the world in which they live, particularly the microsystem of the family. You have also learned that microsystems are not the only source of influence on children’s development. Sometimes changes in the larger world—t he chronosystem—also impact the microsystems of family, school, and community.
As the world entered the 21st century, a number of events and tragedies have greatly affected the lives of children and families. In the United States, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and greater economic uncertainty have brought about dramatic changes. The increased presence of the mass media in everyday life brings traumatic events into nearly every home, often in real time, potentially increasing their impact on every microsystem. Supporting young children and advising families in how to meet children’s needs in the face of these challenges is often part of the work of early childhood professionals.
For your first Action Plan, you will think about the ramifications of such events by exploring the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which impacted the lives of young children in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama through physical and emotional distress. This distress was further exacerbated by Katrina-related challenges faced by their families, such as finding housing and jobs. For some families, these challenges have continued over a period of years. Lessons learned from Katrina about how we can support young children and their families can be applied to many situations.
Action Plan Professional Scenario: Imagine you are an early childhood professional working with young children and families in the Gulf region who are still struggling with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Before you create your Action Plan, consider:
The following steps will help you address the above points and, in turn, create an Action Plan that may be useful in your future work.
Review and reflect on the following four resources. The first article was written immediately after Hurricane Katrina. The other articles provide updates on the current situation for some victims of Katrina.
Review the following links which offer resources for helping young children, including those affected by Katrina and disasters that have occurred since. Take notes on ideas that you think would be valuable for children coping with the kinds of Katrina-related issues that you have read about.
Consider what you have learned about the components of microsystems, in this case, children’s needs with respect to their family life and routines and their sense of security. For Action Plan 1, write:
Assignment length: 2-3 pages.
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