What I Have Learned

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My hope for the children and families from diverse backgrounds I work with is that they would always find a supportive, welcoming community at my school and in my classroom. I hope that these children and families would always find an advocate in me that they can turn to for help, support, and encouragement throughout their journeys.

My goal for the early childhood field in regards to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice is that professional development would be infused into regular staff training. It is necessary that not only classroom teachers, but paraprofessionals, aides, transportation staff, cafeteria staff, lunch staff, cleaning staff, and administration be properly trained and equipped with the knowledge of anti-bias education in order to better reach our students and families on a daily basis.

I want to thank each of my colleagues that I have worked alongside of throughout this course. Your transparency and encouragement have greatly aided in my journey of self-reflection and learning. Best regards to each of you in your careers; you are truly making a difference in the lives of children.

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Creating Art

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Developing anti-bias frameworks

Identities accepted and valued

Variety encouraged

Exquisite mixture

Racial harmony

Supportive systems and society

Individual respected

Trauma, tragedy, and turmoil advocated

Young, old, weak, and strong united.

Start Seeing Diversity Blog: “We Don’t Say Those Words in Class!”

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Recently, I was at the grocery store and noticed an Asian family speaking to one another in a different language. Shortly after noticing this family, I saw a young white mother pass this family as her small child pointed, made a face, and exclaimed, “Why are they talking so funny?” The mother was profusely embarrassed and apologized to the family as she scowled at her son, swatted his hand, and told him how rude he was being.

While I’m sure the mother was embarrassed and reacted based on feeling badly for her son having caused any awkward feelings amongst the Asian family, she quickly negated any feelings her son had and put a hasty end to investigating these feelings further. In doing so, she reprimanded him from noticing and responding to diversity, rather than giving him a different way to communicate his observations and guiding this thought process.

An anti-bias educator may have responded differently to this child by asking questions like, “What makes you think they are talking funny?” “Have you ever heard people speaking different languages than the language you speak?” “Would you like to learn a different language?” Questions like these have the potential to turn this child’s response into a positive, productive conversation regarding diversity and equity. “What children ask, say, or do about any aspect of their own or others’ identities and differences are the wonderful “teachable moments” of anti-bias education” (Derman-Sparks and Olsen Edwards, 2010, p. 32).

Reference

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children