EWING, NJ… The 2011-2012 academic year certainly was a time of recognition for Blythe Hinitz, an early childhood education professor at The College of New Jersey.
Hinitz was first recognized in November when she was named a Hero on the Horizon of Early Childhood Education by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and then again in April as a Distinguished Professor by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education.
Heroes on the Horizon are educators and scholars who have demonstrated a lifetime of contributions to the advancement of early childhood education. It’s a recognition that Hinitz was grateful and honored to receive.
“The people who have been Heroes previously are people who also are my heroes to this day,” Hinitz said. “Although I’ve been in the field for over 40 years, I never put myself in the category with the people who were the Heroes previously, so it was very gratifying to know that the work that I’ve done with students and with colleagues has been beneficial enough that it was worthy of recognition.”
Hinitz began studying the history of early childhood education more than 45 years ago. Since then, she has worked directly with children and taught at the college level. During her time at the College, which began in 1978, she headed the daycare management minor in the 1980s and served as the College preschool liaison. She now teaches the Undergraduate Research Seminar. She will be presenting an interactive session and several posters with five of her former Research Seminar students at the national conference of the Council on Undergraduate Research to be held at The College of New Jersey from June 23-26, 2012.
The NAEYC recognition also served as a prerequisite to the honor of being named a Distinguished Professor, which is open to educators who have won a previous award in the last year or two. Hinitz was also humbled by receiving this distinction since the committee from the New Jersey Association of Colleges of Teacher Education is composed of deans and directors of education from all the institutions of higher education in New Jersey.
“I feel as though I’ve been doubly honored in this academic year by the national and state recognition of my work, which is focused right now on the two areas: history of education and anti-bullying in early childhood education,” Hinitz said.
Hinitz is the co-author of History of Early Childhood Education, which is the only comprehensive history of early childhood education book published in the United States. Her work stresses the importance of understanding the history of early education in order to work in the field.
“Over the years, I’ve been able to prove that a knowledge of history prevents us from reinventing the wheel, and also gives us an understanding of what works,” she said. “One of the things that continues to enliven my interest in the field is that when one studies the history of the field, it helps you understand the present.”
Hinitz also co-authored, The Anti-Bullying and Teasing Book for Preschool Classrooms, which has been translated into the Indonesian language. The Spanish version will be available in July 2012. This book focuses on group-building exercises, the development of friendships, and family involvement, Hinitz said.
She is a member of the New Jersey Higher Education Anti-Bullying Expert Advisory Group headed by Professor Maurice Elias of Rutgers University. Hinitz is chair of a research-collaboration with colleagues in Indonesia and New Jersey on this issue. She, her colleagues and her students have recently presented their work in Hong Kong, China; Bangkok, Thailand; Goteborg, Sweden; as well as at national, regional and local conferences in the U.S.
Hinitz was also the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) and Allyn & Bacon Publishers.
She is a founding and continuing member of the Advisory Board of H-Education (online), treasurer of The College of New Jersey chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, a member of the O.M.E.P. (World Organization for Early Childhood Education) U.S.A. Board, the Past President and Counselor of the Greater Trenton Alumni Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education and a member of Phi Delta Kappa.
To learn more about the National Association for the Education of Young Children, visit: http://www.naeyc.org/
To learn more about the Council on Undergraduate Research, visit: http://www.cur.org/