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SEHS students discuss early childhood education in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
SEHS students discuss early childhood education in Washington, D.C.
By Katie Land, news editor

Nine doctoral students from OU's SEHS department attended a national conference on early childhood education.
Nine doctoral students from Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services recently traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss policy and early childhood legislation with lawmakers at the National Association of the Education of Young Children Policy Conference (NAEYC).

The conference came on the heels of a newly approved budget from the president’s office. In a constantly changing environment, the presenters at Capital Hill were continually amending their information from laptops and phones as they were speaking, which made for an exciting experience, according to Anne Donato, SEHS student and conference participant.

“Having the opportunity to be politically active was very empowering for all of us,” Donato continued. “We now know that we have an active voice at home, and are familiar with the current issues. The experience has allowed us as educators to be more informed and vocal on a local level, and within our professions.”

The students traveled as part of the Michigan team representing the Michigan Association of the Education of Young Children (MiAEYC). At the conference, they met with the NAEYC and its members to learn about current early childhood education policy and how it affects children under eight years of age across the United States.

Students learned how educational grants work and about different types of funds that are up for renewal, in subjects ranging from nutrition to child development.

One of the most important skills the students learned was how to speak to and approach a member of Congress in an appropriate manner. If an initial visit is unsuccessful in gaining support for a bill's agenda, it may be suitable to schedule another visit in the representative’s home state, according to Donato.

“The experience reminded us that we are the system, we are the government, and we have the responsibility to exercise our constitutional rights to call upon our congressmen for our children's sake, since they cannot speak for themselves,” Donato continued.

The MiAEYC is committed to improving the education and welfare of children, and works for young children, their families, and early childhood professionals.

For more information about Oakland’s programs in the SEHS department, visit the Web site at