dream BIG

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

We keep moving forward, 
opening new doors, 
and doing new things, 
because we are curious, 
and curiosity keeps leading down new paths. 
                                                                             -Walt Disney

A few years ago I purchased a journal at Indigo Books entitled, "The Next Big Thing."  There was something about it that instantly captured my attention.  I was especially drawn to the blank white pages, which appealed to my artsy side and would allow me to visually represent some of my ideas.  I also appreciated that every page included an inspiring quote.  

A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere. 
                                                                                                                     -Joyce A. Myers

This journal has been sitting on my desk, however, as I have been waiting to fill it with something important: "My Next Big Thing." I knew that it needed to be something BIG, something worthy of this journal…  A dream of sorts that had the possibility of becoming something real or attainable.  

Creativity is inventing,
taking risks,
breaking rules,
making mistakes,
and having fun.
                                                                                       -Mary Lou Cook

So I took a risk, and applied to continue my studies at the doctoral level, with the hope that it might allow me to further my knowledge and scholarly research.  

Teaching, collaborating, mentoring, researching, blogging, and presenting at conferences have strengthened my passion for education, leadership, innovation and commitment to lifelong learning.  It is my goal to remain an advocate for Early Learning and inspire as many educators as possible.  My professional and academic experiences over the past eight years have been transformative.  Educational practices and research are always changing, and I want to stay current and stimulated.  My journey has just begun, as I feel that I have merely scratched the surface of my academic goals.  I am eager to continue to transform educational practices in Early Childhood and I have great hope that that spreading these powerful messages about Early Learning will have an impact on a greater number of students in Kindergarten and beyond.  I have many unanswered questions and it is my distinct privilege to continue to study at York University, a leading provider in academic research, learning technologies, and excellence in educating young children.

My dream came true with my recent offer of admission to York University's Graduate Program in Education, where I will be beginning my PhD in the Fall. 

I wanted to share this new milestone in my academic career with my loyal blog followers and thank you all.  If it weren't for your support, I would not have an audience to share my new discoveries with.  Your comments, emails, and face-to-face interactions have motivated me to continue this important work about Early Childhood Education. THANK YOU!

On the inside of my new journal it writes, "Da Vince, Einstein, Edison, Newton, Galileo-- so many great thinkers, innovators, and artists were doodlers.  The simple act of doodling random, free-flowing shapes, squiggles, and words jump starts the right side of your brain, sparking creativity, and unlocking the door to new possibilities.  Rethink inspiration.  What's your next big thing?

DREAM BIG!  Anything is possible…

Go forward
and make
your dreams come true.
                                                -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Photo captured by Annawithlove when we interviewed a real photographer for our wedding project.

Don't hold back
on the size and scope 
of your dreams.
Whatever you dream
you can do.



Dream as far
as your heart
can see.
                                         -Carlton Cards

Special thank you to my fiancé, family, friends, colleagues, students, and three references: My supervising professor Dr. Isabel Killoran, my Principal Kim Smith, and the Dean of the Faculty of Education at York University Dr. Ron Owston.


  1. Congratulations! I was feeling very down and frustrated when I sat down at the computer today, after reading an article posted on Macleans.ca about how "full-day Kindergarten is failing our children". As a teacher in the program, and a kindred spirit to your philosophies, it broke my heart. But, reading your post has reminded me that I am not alone. We need more advocates to stand up for this program...whether it be teachers, parents, and even the children. This program is making a difference!

    1. Thank you!

      You are not alone! I read that article in October and though it made me feel sad, it also motivated me to apply. I would like to prove that Full-Day Kindergarten has been worth every penny!

      Thank you for the congratulations! I am super excited for this opportunity to continue my learning.

  2. Wow, congratulations Ms. Babalis! You are truly inspirational! Flavia (M.F.)

    1. Thank you! I hope to make a difference in the early childhood field.

  3. Congratulations again Joanne! I just started a new blog where I'm going to write about my inquires, wonderings and discoveries. My first blog entry is about my inspiration a.k.a you and Jocelyn S. I will be delighted if you visited my blog.




    1. Hi Asma,

      Thank you so much! I visited your blog over the weekend when I first saw this comment. What an honour to be mentioned as your inspiration!

      Congratulations on starting up your own blog! This is a big yet very important undertaking!


      Joanne Babalis

  4. Congratulations Joanne!

    The title of the book captures your outlook and approach to life and learning. You are a beacon to so many of us in the Kindergarten program, shining your light on the beautiful things you do and those you see around you. I can only say I'm glad to follow you and I'm sure you'll be inspiring me for years to come. Hurray for you!


    1. Dearest Laurel,

      YOU are so inspiring! I continue to marvel at your ability to teach, blog, share your ideas via Twitter, and have your own family! I hope to someday be able to learn how to balance my family goals with my professional goals.

      Thank you for your support over the years and your comments on the blog and Twitter. I will always remember your passion for education and smile!



  5. Congratulations! You are so inspiring…I can only imagine where this will take you. Thank you for continuing to post about your teaching/learning adventure.