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Early Childhood Development Provides Good Background

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From childcare centers to elementary schools to universities, Bonnie Lash Freeman has seen and taught early childhood development at all levels.

"The most common thread in every setting [where I have worked] is teacher development," said Lash Freeman, who is director of training and special projects for the National Center for Family Literacy. "But, my previous work focused on children. There is a greater impact now because I'm working with the teachers of those families."

Lash Freeman develops new projects as corporate donors award new grants. She also oversees existing projects. Freeman works on a statewide initiative, the Kentucky Reading Project, which is designed to increase student achievement and family involvement in literacy by empowering P-5 teachers to design and implement comprehensive, research-based instruction driven by the on-going assessment of diverse learners' needs. More than 2,200 teachers representing more than 140 school districts have been trained.

She also works with Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections programs. NCFL is expanding the use of proven family literacy strategies and practices and is honing its capacity to deliver customized technical assistance services in Making Connections communities, which target at-risk and disadvantaged families.

"I never get bored," Freeman said. "There is a lot of variety. I put together project evaluations, training, and program designs, and I come up with dissemination plans for grant programs."

Freeman said she enjoys working with various constituents, from the corporate donors to the consumer.

"You have to understand how to respond to the consumer and the [donor]," she said. "It is very satisfying to take a program that is just a gleam in the eye and see it through from inception to completion."

Freeman advises that educators who would like to get involved in the early childhood aspect of family literacy should possess the following attributes.
  • Understanding of the dynamic within family backgrounds
  • Knowledge and skills to allow family members to make decisions for themselves by offering them information in such a way that you aren't telling them what to do
  • Knowledge of psychology and logical skills to analyze challenges and obstacles
  • Self-assurance and ease working under stress
  • Ability to work with and relate to various people
  • Interest in continuously learning new things
  • Ability to think on your feet and adapt projects based on the needs of individual program participants
  • Ability to multi-task
The reward?

"You'll always feel good because you are doing something every day to help someone's development," Freeman said.

For more information on a career in family literacy, visit the National Center for Family Literary website, or contact your state Even Start coordinator.
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Popular tags:

 university  procedures  professions  family literacy  NCFL  elementary schools  assessments

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