Terri Jo Swim, associate dean and professor at the College of Education and Public Policy at IPFW, is all about infants and toddlers.
"Little kids fascinate me," Swim said. "They are so curious. They are so energetic. Everything is new to them."
A 1991 Purdue University graduate, Swim earned her Bachelor of Science in child development and family studies. The Fairmount native then earned her doctorate at University of Texas in Austin and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and University of Akron.
Along the way, she became an author. Her first book, "Creative Resources for Infants and Toddlers," published in 1999, led to her help with writing the sixth edition of a popular textbook on early childhood learning. Now in its ninth edition, she is the sole author of "Infants and Toddlers: Caregiving and Responsive Curriculum Development."
The book, found on Amazon, is used at more than 200 two- and four-year institutions of higher learning, Swim said.
Swim does not care for the national trend that pushes more academics for preschool children, nor does she care for DIBELS – Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills – when it’s used for assessing and evaluating preschoolers entering school.
She would prefer a more holistic measure of development that would include curiosity, social, cognitive, physical and language abilities as well as what she calls "a disposition toward learning."
"I am very much a developmentalist in that way," Swim said.
She can’t stress enough how important high-quality preschool programs like Early Head Start are. "Our needs outweigh the availability of space, (which is a) real challenge especially for low-income families," Swim said.
Children and families participating in Early Head Start produce parents who read more often on a daily basis to their children, a crucial part of early learning. Educators have found that fathers of children in Early Head Start programs are more involved, she said.
Grandparents can be phenomenal support, she added.
Her advice to mothers is this: "Spend time with your baby." It can be difficult, she admitted, particularly for single mothers who need to find support. "Laundry can wait. Dishes can wait. Your baby can’t wait."
What’s vital for healthy development is to build a strong relationship. "Find all those times to hold them and look deep into their eyes," Swim said.
• Prospective college students and their parents are invited to Fort Wayne’s first Catholic College Fair, sponsored by Redeemer Radio, from 6 to 8 p.m. April 12 at the University of Saint Francis North Campus, 2702 Spring St.
Catholic colleges and universities in the region will be on hand. All religious affiliations are welcome. No preregistration is required. Confirmed colleges include the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Saint Joseph’s College (Indiana), Marian University, Gannon University, Walsh University, Lourdes University and Holy Cross College at Notre Dame. For more information about the Catholic College Fair, call 260-399-8000 or visit go.sf.edu/usf-ccn.
• The University of Saint Francis Department of Philosophy and Theology will present a special lecture "Emmanuel Levinas on Ethics as First Philosophy," at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Brookside Ballroom on the USF campus, 2701 Spring St. The free lecture will be delivered by USF assistant professor of philosophy Vincent Wargo and is open to the public. For additional information, contact Angie Springer, 260-399-8066 or email@example.com.
• Larry A. Mercer, president of Therapon Leadership Services, will be the keynote speaker at Huntington University’s 118th Commencement on May 14. He served in senior leadership at Moody Bible Institute as well as past president of Washington Bible College.
• LEARN Resource Center, offering before- and after-school programs for children at New Haven Primary, New Haven Intermediate and Heritage Elementary, will open for registration starting April 18. Registration night at New Haven Branch Library will be from 5 to 7 p.m. April 19. Registration, also available at the LEARN office at 610 Professional Park Drive, is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Weekly cost is $75 per child. Sibling discount offered. Starting May 10, registration costs $25 per family or $50 per family.
The summer program runs June 6 through July 29 at Grace Gathering Church in New Haven. The LEARN summer program is open to all children who will be in K-6 grade this fall. The program is designed to give children a safe place to be while their parents are at work and prevent learning loss. Children participate in math, science and reading activities in the morning and recreational activities in the afternoon. The program also offers swim days and field trips.
• Cindy Fruechte from Bellmont Middle School was named as the local winner of the My Favorite Teacher contest at Barnes & Noble bookstore at Glenbrook Square. She was nominated by Shannon McNamara, who wrote the winning essay or poem and who will receive a certificate of recognition and also be honored at the ceremony. Fruechte will receive a special award acknowledging her achievement.
The contest ran from Jan. 4 until March 1. Students nominated their favorite teacher by writing essays, poems or thank-you letters that shared how their teacher had influenced their life and why they appreciated and admired their teacher.
• Kent Goeglein of New Haven High School was awarded the Helene R. Foellinger Award for Excellence in Economic Education from Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana. Goeglein was recognized for his commitment to his profession and students and teaching the economic principles of the free enterprise system.
The Foellinger Award is presented annually to one economics teacher from northern Indiana. Kameron Meyer of Heritage High School was awarded the Dale W. McMillen Award.
Students and parents who have a favorite teacher may nominate the individual for Teacher Honor Roll. Send nominations to The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893; or email email@example.com at least two weeks before the desired publication date.