Marea Tsamaase, HDFS Alumni Spotlight, January 2023

Marea TsamaaseMarea Tsamaase received her Ph.D. from HDFS in May 2019. Prior to joining the UConn doctoral program, Marea attained a Masters of Science in Family and Consumer Science from Ball State University as a Fulbright Scholar. She also earned a Masters of Education in Educational Management and a Bachelor of Education in Home Economics from the University of Botswana. Marea is an active member of the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Her extensive wealth of experience in Early Childhood Development (ECD) training, curriculum development, and program reviews at institutional and national levels is highlighted in her several published articles in early childhood and family studies. Marea has served and made tremendous contributions to communities and the ECD field in Botswana for over 20 years. At the institutional level, Marea has developed courses and programs in ECD. At the national and international levels, she participated in the development of the Botswana 0-3 years and 3-6 years National Early Childhood Curriculum frameworks, which were funded by the Botswana Ministry of Education in partnership with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Marea has ample consulting experience; she was contracted by the Botswana Police College to develop a curriculum for their preschool program and to train their teachers. Additionally, she worked as a consultant for Marang Child Network Trust Fund, where she designed a training program for caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children.

After graduating from UConn, Marea served as a human development specialist on multiple platforms. She assumed her position as a lecturer at the University of Botswana, where she continues to teach family and child development courses as well as coordinate the University of Botswana Child Development Laboratory. She has been appointed as her department’s quality assurance team member, and she represents the Department of Family and Consumer Science at the Faculty Executive Board. Marea is also teaching several undergraduate courses and is supervising both graduate and undergraduate research projects.

Since graduation, Marea’s scholarly work has been in multiple areas. For instance, she has published a paper with UConn HDFS faculty Sara Harkness and Charles Super on grandparents’ expectations about early childhood in Botswana. She also participated in a Virtual Round Table at the Society for Research in Child Development in April 2021 with Sara Harkness, Charles Super, Saskia van Schaik, Kofi Marfo, Silvia Koller, and Florrie Ng on avoiding ethnocentrism in behavioral science.

Marea’s passion for quality in ECD has led to her effective involvement in promoting and transforming ECD in Botswana. In June 2022 she successfully reviewed the ECD academic program at the University of Botswana to align it with the new accreditation requirements for Botswana Qualifications authority. Marea has twice been invited by the Department of Rural and Community Development of the Ministry of Local Government as a keynote speaker at the South and Northern regions’ Early Childhood Development Pitso (Forums) to discuss ECD in Botswana. The ministry of local government further engaged Marea in the development of national guidelines for child minding/drop-in services.

Marea’s work has moreover involved participating in live television discussions on topical issues in her country. She was invited twice as a studio guest on Botswana Television to provide expert advice and guidance on the topics of children’s success and COVID-19. Marea also recently collaborated with other ECD professionals and a UNICEF consultant to develop the National Early Learning Standards for Botswana. The knowledge, skills and experience that Marea acquired from UConn- HDFS have opened endless opportunities for driving and directing ECD mandate and fostering quality programs in Botswana.

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