I was traveling on an airplane this week and I had the privilege of sitting next to a mechanical engineer. He was traveling for work on his latest project, a new medical device for heart patients. I was fascinated by the new procedures he was explaining, but he seemed just as fascinated with my early childhood knowledge. He has two small children and admitted that he and his wife don’t always know the best approach for teaching their little ones. Our conversation evolved to a discussion about building capacities in the brain. I told him how critical it was to give young children as many experiences and support as possible so they can build as many brain connections as possible (check out Dr. Jean’s information). We know that the connections formed during early childhood will have life long effects. We discussed how his new device might help patients avoid a heart bypass operation, but there was no shortcut to providing young children with positive, supportive experiences during these critical years. Early childhood is the time to build strong brain connections. I continue to admire all of the wonderful people in the world that devote their lives to young children.
Manager of Educational Programs, Excelligence Learning Corporation
University Clinical Instructor
Credentials and Accolades:
M.Ed., Early Childhood Education
1996 Utah Teacher of the Year
1998-1999 President, Utah AEYC
2011 Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Utah
John Funk has worked in early childhood since 1979. He taught preschool, 1st and 2nd grades and kindergarten. He worked as an early childhood specialist for a large school district and managed early childhood services for Salt Lake CAP Head Start. He is past president of the Utah AEYC. As an early childhood, reading, and literacy consultant for the last decade, he has written on early childhood subjects and products for McGraw Hill and Leap Frog. He served on the editorial panel for Young Children magazine published by NAEYC.
Currently, John is the Manager of Educational Programs for Excelligence Learning Corporation, and he teaches courses in early childhood, children’s literature, classroom management, reading methods and supervises student teachers at the University of Utah.