"I am very passionate about early childhood education because I believe every child needs a solid education and care foundation to be successful in life," says Dr. Tsitsi Nyabando, assistant professor of early childhood education at Eastern New Mexico University. "My experiences working with students and families in Zimbabwe helped me realize there were many influences on children's development and learning. That became the main turning point for me toward early childhood education and care."
Dr. Nyabando, whose mother and father are retired teachers, holds the practice of educating students in high regard. She says, "Educators are my greatest influence. I feel they play a very important role in influencing lives."
The professor is currently teaching three courses at ENMU, including "Guiding Young Children," a course that explores theories of child guidance and their practical applications. Dr. Nyabando also teaches "Advanced Caregiving for Infants and Toddlers," which teaches students strategies that are characteristic of high-quality infant and toddler environments. Lastly, she teaches "Research in Child Growth, Development and Learning," a course that provides an integration of significant theories of child development by focusing on contemporary research in all aspects of development.
"One thing that drew me to ENMU is the University's size, with a huge focus on student success. I love working with students," she shares. "I have gone through the process of teaching for several years, but I still get excited about it. My goal at Eastern is to help students develop as effective early childhood educators, collaborating with faculty, students and the wider community on research and other activities."
In 2000, Dr. Nyabando received her bachelor's in education from Africa University located in her hometown, Mutare, Zimbabwe. She then worked as an educator for elementary and middle school students while serving as a volunteer in community programs for young children. After eleven years, she moved to the United States to attend East Tennessee State University, where she received her Master of Education in 2013 and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Early Childhood Education in 2019.
Dr. Nyabando received an "Outstanding Doctoral Student for Service" award, an "Outstanding Doctoral Student for Teaching" award and an "Outstanding Graduate Assistant" award at East Tennessee State University. She was awarded a doctoral scholarship award from the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators Foundation in 2018. Additionally, she received a "Lasting Legacy Scholarship" award from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 2017.
Dr. Nyabando is a member of several early childhood education organizations, including Childhood Education International (CEI), Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE). She serves as a conference proposal reviewer with NAECTE and a manuscript reviewer for the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
Currently, Dr. Nyabando is working on research relating to classroom physical learning environments and cultural influences on children's social and emotional development. She recently joined ENMU Women, and she is working on serving with local organizations that work with young children in the area.
In her free time, Dr. Nyabando enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors. She also likes reading when she has time to grab a good book and plans to read her collection of books this summer. She enjoys traveling, naming Victoria Falls in Zambia as her favorite place she has been.