Each month, our Outreach Team highlights an alumnus of Eliot-Pearson who is excelling in their professional endeavors post-Tufts while continuing to spread the department’s mission.
This month, Angie Kalthoff — Program Manager for the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) Graduate Certificate Program — spoke with recent ECT graduate Heather Lee to hear about how she’s applying lessons learned from the certificate program to her current work.
Name: Heather Lee
Programs Completed at Eliot-Pearson:
Angie: How long have you been working in the field of education for?
Heather: I’ve been working in education — in a variety of roles — for the past 25 years.
Angie: Can you describe your passions?
Heather: I dream of and advocate for:
- Uplifting the early years as a critical part of the cradle-to-career pipeline, and a secure base for lifelong joy for learning.
- Providing all children the opportunity to engage in hands-on STEM education; every child should have the ability to enter the STEM field if they so desire.
Angie: Tell me a bit about your current role.
Heather: I am the director at a center for early care and learning, serving families whose children are 8 weeks to 5 years of age. I’m in a University lab-school setting where pre-service teachers conduct their observations and create/administer lesson plans.
Angie: Talk about your experience with the Early Childhood Technology (ECT) certificate program — what did you learn?
Heather: The ability to articulate a solid framework (Positive Technological Development) that focuses on the playful development of the whole child is so valuable. It allows me to zero in on the reasons why we should provide opportunities for young children to engage in programming and integrate tools like KIBO into their learning repertoire.
My experience in the ECT program has provided me with research-based tools and data to guide my own hands-on learning journey in coding. ScratchJr and KIBO were all brand new experiences that I would not have attempted without the expert guidance afforded me through the ECT Program. I also value my cohort of colleagues that have become a national PLC.
Angie: What is a project that you are currently working on that relates to your learning in the ECT program?
Heather: The Boise State University Children’s Center has entered a multi-year collaboration with Idaho STEM Action Center, an Office of the Governor, to develop a replicable model for high quality early STEM education. I am proud that my program will be leading the charge statewide. Through this collaboration, I am also involved in the creation of an early STEM network, creating hubs of PLCs in all regions of Idaho to bolster ongoing support of STEM in both formal and informal settings.