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Living Stories

Nontraditional College Students in Early Childhood Education


Susan Bernheimer

In Living Stories: Nontraditional College Students in Early Childhood Education, Susan Bernheimer takes the reader into her journey with a group of nontraditional college students. Bernheimer’s struggle to find a meaningful approach to teaching the students about early childhood development and care is infused with the insights and wisdom that come from listening to, and valuing, the remarkable stories of her students’ lives. This book offers a powerful new road map for early childhood teacher preparation through a relational pedagogy that honors students’ life experiences and that leads to deep reflection and learning. The approach is embedded in students’ strengths and knowledge and is successfully inclusive of an increasingly diverse student demographic. Bernheimer provides an inclusive model of education that builds upon the strengths of all students. 

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Chapter Seven. Hear My Voice


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Chapter 7


Hear My Voice

Preparing for my Health, Safety, and Nutrition Class reminded me of a memorable trip I took as a young adult. In a daring move, I had decided to travel to Europe alone, taking few possessions, uncertain of where I would be headed, or how long I would be gone. My first night was spent at a cheap hotel in London, awakening to giant black cockroaches greeting me in bed. Terrified, I quickly fled from the hotel. The next day, while wondering through the city, I encountered a woman who had been on my flight to London. We were delighted to see each other; we joined together and immediately became close friends. My trip continued in a similar vein: unexpected difficulties, constant uncertainty, yet delightful discoveries. Gradually, I realized the purpose of my trip was to gain a deeper understanding about life, rather than trying to control my circumstances. Through it all, I went from being a timid, rule-based person to a more confident, autonomous adult with a greater ability to solve unexpected problems. ← 91 | 92 →

Preparation for an Uncertain World

I thought of the students enrolled in this Health, Safety, and Nutrition Class. They too were going to be facing an unpredictable world as early childhood teachers. Understanding the basics of health, safety, and nutrition would provide helpful information. But, it would not address the reality of their work with children...

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