Journey to Malawi, Africa

malawiThis evening begins a new adventure. I’m flying to Lilongwe, Malawi (Africa) and then riding in a jeep for 9hrs up to the city of Chitipa. My church partners with World Relief to help bring relief and hope to a country devastated by the effect of AIDS/HIV. Malawi is one of the poorest nations on the earth and has an AIDS rate of 16%. Chitipa, in the far northern part of this south African nation, is often called the “forgotten district,” as it is an extremely disadvantaged area.

malawi1World Relief utilizes the H.E.A.R.T. model in the Malawi ministry which is an acronym for its efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS by raising the standard of living in a community through: Health, Education, Agriculture, Refugee and Trade initiatives. Our initial work in Chitipa focuses on helping to increase the rate of child and maternal survival rates, which are devastatingly low in Chitipa.


My team of three will be focused on working with the childcare providers caring for young children and youth up to age 18. We will be sharing important teaching ideas and resources to enhance the sustainability of their efforts. We’ve packed supplies and materials to provide them with new learning opportunities, but will also share new ideas for using their own natural materials for learning.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to use my phone or internet in Malawi so there will be no Malawi updates via Facebook, this blog, or Twitter until my return to the USA. I’ll be in Africa for 2 weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to contact my ECYD colleague Sharon Bergen if you have questions about the ECYD program, registering for classes, etc. You may reach her at 651.423.8398 or sharon.bergen@dctc.edu. (Email is preferred at this time)

DCTC Students and Alumni- Help Needed!

DCTC Students and Alumni!

It’s that time of year again to welcome students to DCTC at New Student Orientation! We are looking for 25 student and alumni volunteers to assist with this event on Thursday, August 21, from 7:30-2, helping with the following tasks:

  • Assisting with check-in
  • Providing campus tours & helping students find their classrooms
  • Speaking on the student and alumni panel
  • Assisting presenters in the breakout sessions
  • Assisting in Student Services with parking passes, helping print class scheduled, and general questions
  • “Working the Lines” – pass out candy or DCTC giveaways to students waiting in line at the bookstore, etc.
  • Set-up and clean-up
  • And more!

Please let me know if you are able to help by August 8th, and if there is a specific area you would like to assist with. Please forward this along to any other students who may be interested in helping out.

All volunteers will get a DCTC T-shirt, Student Life Lanyard/name tag (let me know if you already have one), and free lunch. This is also a great thing to put on your resume for volunteer experience!

Anna Voight
Assistant Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College
Office: 651-423-8649

CARE Fellowship for College Students

Latest News from MnAEYC

sheltering armsWe’re excited to tell you that we’ve been awarded a grant from the Sheltering Arms Foundation to provide students pursuing a degree in the early childhood field with an exciting new professional development opportunity.

mnaeyc logoThe students will learn how they can be effective advocates for themselves and the profession as a whole when engaging and educating policymakers at all levels of government. The program is offered at no cost to all participants.

The online application will be available on our website on August 4!!

Bam!Radio: Overcoming Burnout

Why Overwhelmed Is the New Normal and What to Do About It
(Rae Pica with Brigid Schulte, Nancy Blair, Melanie Link Taylor, Jessica Lahey)


Look around and you’ll likely see that most people you know are struggling to keep up with all of the demands on their lives. Being overwhelmed has become the new normal. How can we restore some balance to our lives? TUNE IN HERE

Career Crossings: 7/18/14

career crossingThis edition of Career Crossings includes career opportunities from The Club House. Read more »

Adventures in Eating Recipe #16 (Colorful Fruit Salad)

July Recipe

Adventures in Eating: Healthy Eating and Reading (Fruit)

FruitWe’re continuing our healthy eating and reading series with this month focusing on fruits. Because fruits are juicy and sweet, fruits are often a favorite food among young children. Fruits are good for children because they contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are good for growing bodies.

Most 2-3 year olds should eat 1 cup of fruit each day and most 4-8 year olds should eat 1 to 1 ½ cups of fruit each day. Fruits can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juice. Because juice is a concentrated source of calories and does not contain fiber, children should limit juice to 4-6 ounces (½ to ¾ cup). Visit Choose MyPlate for more information on the fruit food group.

There are many children’s books about apples; let’s look at some books on other fruits:

handas surpriseHanda’s Surprise by Eileen Brown is about a girl from Kenya,  Handa, who puts seven delicious fruits in a basket, balances it on her head, and starts out for her friend’s village. She plans to surprise her friend and wonders which fruit she will like best. But along the way, without Handa knowing it, animals quietly take the fruit piece by piece from her basket. This book introduces children to less common fruits such as guava, passion fruit, mango and avocado.  Enhance this story by having children make a fruit salad using the fruits from the book. Look for more lesson plan ideas for this book from the Kansas Extension Book in a Bag series.

Fruit Flies PicnicFruit Flies’ Picnic by Kathleen Stefancin is about five sweet (and cute) fruit flies who are having a picnic. Each fly brings a fruit of a different color to the picnic and tells why that color fruit is important for the body. The flies then list other fruits of each color. This book is a great way to combine learning colors with fruit. For older children, the focus can be placed on the benefits of eating fruits of different colors. You can download coloring sheets from the book’s website.

Because fruits are so colorful, there are a lot of non-fiction children’s books on fruit. Check your local library to see what books are available. Reading books with real photos of fruits provides the opportunity to talk to children about the color and shapes of fruit, where fruit is grown and what fruits the children like to eat.

Happy reading and happy fruit eating!


Mary SchroederMary Schroeder works for the University of Minnesota Extension which helps
to connect community needs with University of Minnesota resources.  Specifically
the Health and Nutrition programs and resources focus on disease & obesity
prevention, healthy school environments, and continuing education for community
professionals.  You can link to the Extension Health and Nutrition website at:

Mary Schroeder, MPH, RD, LD
Extension Educator
Health and Nutrition
University of Minnesota Extension
Email:  hedin007@umn.edu
Website:  www.extension.umn.edu
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/UMNExtSimplyGoodEating

Mondays with ME: Everyday STEM (7/13/14)




STEM skills guest Yvonne Ng“In today’s world, STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math skills) are hugely important to academic success and career prospects. Yet, as parents, many of us are at a loss as to how to support our children in building those crucial skills, especially if we think we lack them ourselves. But this Mom Enough guest,Yvonne Ng, brings a fresh and encouraging perspective on STEM skills. An engineer, educator and mom, she helps us see STEM in the world around us and ignite our children’s curiosity, discovery, experimentation and problem-solving from the earliest years of life.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE

MomEnough 2

Bam!Radio: Unspoken Issues Males in E.C. Face

BAM logopicPedophilia, Suspicion, The Man Tax: Many of the biggest  challenges men in early childhood education face are taboo topics that are rarely openly discussed. This segment brings together four male early childhood educators in a heart to heart conversation about these unspoken challenges and how to deal with them.

(Ginsberg, Mason, Nelson,  Boyden)


Mondays with ME: Allergies (7/7/14)



Davidson,Joshua_hs“In recent years, food allergies have become a greater concern worldwide, affecting both children and adults, especially in developed countries like the U.S. What are possible causes of this notable increase? How do you know if you have a food allergy? Do kids sometimes outgrow an allergy or is treatment always needed? How is treatment of food allergies the same as or different from treatment for environmental allergies like hay fever? Dr. Joshua Davidson, a Los Angeles allergist and immunologist, brings the latest information parents need about allergies in children and adults.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE