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Who are Our Healthy Children and Why are they So Important to Our World?
By Kim Carmelite Bigardi Metcalfe, PhD
Healthy children are those who have begun to develop healthy mental models of themselves and who view diversity in humans as valuable. Healthy children are those who begin developing healthy cognitive, creative, emotional, social, and physical skills that allow them navigate through the world in thoughtful, kind, caring and purposeful ways. Healthy children become healthy thinking and behaving adults who are positive contributors to their own lives, the lives of their families, and to the lives of those who live in their communities. Most important, healthy adults have the empathy and social skills needed to work successfully in a diverse world to make it a better place for all!

Who we are…

Kim Carmelite Metcalfe, PhD

Educational Psychologist, Associate Professor of Psychology and Early Childhood Education, Author, Parenting and Teacher Strategist, and Child Advocate.

Dr. Kim views all children as our world’s greatest resource. She founded Abbey’s Purple Winged Angel’s Foundation to globally promote and support raising extraordinary kids, who become extraordinary adults, who live extraordinary lives. The foundation is a tribute to the precious life of Dr. Kim’s late daughter who left this world, March 15th in the year 2012. Abbey chose to leave this world because of one moment when her thinking was unhealthy and irrational. And yes, alcohol played a role in her decision. Medicating oneself to “feel good” is not the solution for any of us or our children.

Since the death of her daughter, Dr. Kim has dedicated her life in raising awareness about the critical impact that children’s self-perceptions have on their thinking and therefore their everyday behaviors, specifically when challenges arise. Dr. Kim reminds us that the perceptions we hold of ourselves, are dependent on four distinct psychological states which are our: 1) self-awareness skills, 2) self-images, 3) self-esteem, and 4) sense of self-efficacy. Together, these four internal psychological states form children’s self-perceptions. More importantly, Dr. Kim emphasizes that our self-perceptions are shaped by our parents, teachers, and any of our other primary caretakers, from the moment of our births throughout our childhoods.

The behaviors our primary caretakers model for us, and use with us provides us with extremely powerful information that we use as mental models for how to think about ourselves, others, and the world we live in. For example, self-perceptions can be positive or negative (e.g., I am capable versus I am incapable). Self-perceptions influence the type of thinking we have about situations, we can be optimistic or pessimistic (e.g., the glass is half full versus the glass is half empty).

Dr. Kim is a passionate, expert, and instructor on the impact of parent’s and teacher’s principles and practices on children’s development; and the ripple effect that children’s development has on their childhood thinking and behaviors and into their adult lives as, partners, parents, community members, and as human beings in the world. She has prepared over 8,000 professionals for work that respects and assists children in reaching their full potential.

Dr. Kim earned a baccalaureate and master’s degree in Psychology and Child Development from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), and a PhD in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis on Human Development through the Lifespan from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Kim’s excellence in high honors and academic achievements earned her a life time membership in Phi Kappa Phi. Her cutting edge research using the Sampling Methodology Approach, to examine mothers and fathers interactions with their children in real time, earned Recognition of Scholarly Research; and a Certification of Prestigious Research for Ethnic studies from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department of CSUSB. Her research was viewed as worthy of presentation at the Western Region American Psychology Convention. Dr. Kim’s contributions to the field of Early Childhood Education earned her a place at Oxford Universities Round Table in England. As a leader, trainer, and advocate for children she continues to be invited to participate as a symposium member of Oxford University. Additional research contributions by Dr. Kim include explicitly teaching critical thinking strategies to achieve identified outcomes. She is also a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC), and The American Psychological Association.

Currently Dr. Kim is continuing her work in Abbey’s Purple Winged Angel’s Foundation. She is Emerita of Moreno Valley College of Riverside Community College District, Riverside, California. During her 14-year tenure at the college she has served as the advisor for Future Teachers of America, been a member of the college’s Academic Standards Committee, served as an Academic Senator for the college, worked as the Assistant Chair for the Department of Health, Human, and Public Services, was the Administrator of California’s Welfare to Work Program, and represented her college at the Great American Teachers Conference of California.

Dr. Kim supports Nourish the Children, the Ryan White Foundation, and Elizabeth Glaser Aids Foundation, Women of Global Change, The Astoria Armory, Anti-Bullying Program. She currently resides in Oregon and California with her husband. Together Dr. Kim and her husband have 5 daughters, 1 son, 3 grandchildren, and they serve as parental figures to 6 adults without parents and as grandparents to their children. Both she and her husband have a deep love for family and believe that all children, including young adult children deserve loving parents and families.

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