Teaching College

The Perf-ECT Certificate System

Performances for Early Childhood Teachers — Level D

Connecting to Children

Here is a path for personal and community growth guided by personal and community values—very unlike traditional approaches to adult education.
  • Want to be satisfyingly good with children?
  • Want to use relationships with children you encounter every day as practice as well as research?
  • Want to be part of a group of peers doing the same investigations and share experiences?
  • Want to be able to prove to yourself and others that you can make a difference in children’s lives?
  • Had enough of listening to others and want to recognizeably become masterful?

Imagine all adults worldwide — parents as well as pedagogues — altering their inherited habits of relating to children by working, in concert with others, to build a more enhanced way of being for the children’s benefit.

In Connecting to Children, participants practice what they decide they want to be able to do. The structure is akin to merit badges in scouting. Scouts can earn a merit badge in cycling, for example, by doing a series of cycling assignments and then demonstrate their new-found mastery to others. Their knowledge and skill are applied in a final performance of understanding. It’s not academic knowledge; it’s like driving a car or baking an apple pie. It’s real life. chalk

As an educator of both children and adults — child care providers, nannies, parents, and educators — I worked at finding those essential experiences that seem to offer transformation. I like that word transformation; it signifies an experience that changes people forever.

Once I found a series of challenges that really made a difference for people, I fervently wished everyone around the world would have this opportunity available. What if every parent or teacher of young children undertook these tuition-free, educational experiences and could present documentation of their actual performance by making a positive change in a child’s life?

To that end, I created materials to guide people through four 10-week modules for anyone to implement independently from any organization. A small group of people who are presently working with children or raising children and who are willing to commit to the work would have the necessary set of sequenced challenges for free. It is essential, however, to work together with others in order to have the discussions and sharing of experience necessary to construct new understandings. A portfolio of the work is naturally created to document attainment of actual competence, not hours of sitting in a chair.

Connecting to Children offers a cooperative, guided space for adults to grow personally and visibly improve children’s lives.

  • Here is a community-based educational program that runs locally without tuition or school attendance.
  • It does not tell anyone what to do.
  • It offers an opportunity for participants to create their own understanding rather than accept something given as truth.
  • It does not rely upon external standards; it evolves its own standards as participants co-construct together ways of being for themselves in the context of their own care for the little ones they know and love.
  • It does not impose a dominant culture; it allows people of all cultures to flourish in their own way, so life is richer for all.
  • It allows participants to document their own understanding and to prove competence to the audiences that really care: the child, the family, and each other.

Connecting to Children is the first of four levels of professionalism in early childhood education that I have called Per-ECT, Performances for Early Childhood Teachers. Since it is the base level, I called it the D step. The C step is about creating learning environments. The B step is about action research to show that one’s intentions match what happens to the children over an entire year. The A step is about leadership of a learning community, helping others get better, too. These more advanced levels remain unpublished until I see more use of the first one. Connecting to Children is called the D level, because this is the place to start.

The information about this opportunity begins below on the Overview page, followed by descriptions of each module, D1, D2, D3, and D4. You can see what others have done and the depth of the transformation this experience has provided.

Next Overview