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DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

  • 1.  DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-09-2018 04:43 PM
    Hi all!

    Welcome to the online portion of our virtual book club! Here you will find weekly discussion questions for each chapter of "Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs" by Louise Derman-Sparks, Debbie LeeKeenan, and John Nimmo.

    Chapter 1:
    Derman-Sparks, LeeKeenan, and Nimmo (2015) noted the following:

    An anti-bias program puts diversity and equity goals at the center of all aspects of its organization and daily life. It involves much more than adding new materials and activities into the already existing learning environment. Rather, broad systemic changes are necessary.

    With this is mind, please reflect on how you can be a part of this systemic change within your current role in early childhood education? 

    How has your social identity, as described in Chapter 1, affected where you are on your anti-bias journey?



    Chapter 2:

    "Collaborative leaders exercise power with, rather than power on, staff and families."

    How can leaders of early childhood programs work with various educational stakeholders to develop and sustain an anti-bias "community of learners"? 

    Reflect on a time when you "[pushed] what-is to the what might be…".  How did your own critical self-reflection inform your eventual action steps in that situation?



    ------------------------------
    Meghan L. Gowin, M. Ed
    Lead Co-Facilitator
    Diversity & Equity Education for Adults Interest Forum
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  • 2.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-10-2018 03:23 PM
    It's so exciting to see this discussion starting here!
    "With this in mind, please reflect on how you can be a part of this systemic change within your current role in early childhood education."
    One of the places that I try to put diversity and equity at the center of my work- both inside and outside of early childhood education is to pay attention to whose voices are being heard and valued.  As a white woman who grew up in mostly white communities, it takes concentration and commitment for me to keep noticing whose voices are dominating and whose voices are being drowned out.  This seems essential for me as an early childhood educator however, because if we don't model a different way of interacting for the young children who are watching our every move- things can't change.  
    It also seems important to think about where our resources are going.  When we have enough money for new playgrounds or another set of duploes, but somehow we "can't afford" to buy anti bias materials or pay for high quality anti bias training- then that is a sign of what our priorities really are.
    And I think it's essential for all of us- myself included- to view all systems changes in our field through an anti-bias lens.  Where will professionalism take us in the end?  And will it take all of us there, or will it result in a whiter, more Christian, more middle class field.

    How can leaders of early childhood programs work with various educational stakeholders to develop and sustain an anti-bias "community of learners,
    I've been thinking a lot about this lately, based on a phone conversation with another ECE leader.  One of the places I think we get stuck is in feeling like we know all the answers.  I've been in the field for more than 30 years and was educated in a university setting where I was encouraged to think that once I had my degree I would know much more than most people in the field.  There wasn't much help in my degree program to learn to listen and to discover what each person who entered my program might have to teach me about young children.
    Standards are important- but there are many, many ways high quality early childhood programs can look.  As a leader, it's my job to figure out what my own cultural lens is and make sure I see past it.  I need to recognize great early childhood education in all it's forms, not just the ones that match the way I might do it myself.  






    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-11-2018 10:13 AM
    Chapter 1:
    Derman-Sparks, LeeKeenan, and Nimmo (2015) noted the following:

    An anti-bias program puts diversity and equity goals at the center of all aspects of its organization and daily life. It involves much more than adding new materials and activities into the already existing learning environment. Rather, broad systemic changes are necessary.

    With this is mind, please reflect on how you can be a part of this systemic change within your current role in early childhood education?

    Because we teach the youngest of learners and their families, I feel we play a critical role in creating systemic change by teaching children (and their families) to listen and respect each other no matter their gender, race, religion, or other social identifiers.

    How has your social identity, as described in Chapter 1, affected where you are on your anti-bias journey?

    I grew up in a white, Jewish household rooted in social justice values.  This influences how I talk about these issues with children and families in the classroom.  I am constantly learning by listening to my parents' views on these topics for curriculum purposes.



    Chapter 2:

    "Collaborative leaders exercise power with, rather than power on, staff and families."

    How can leaders of early childhood programs work with various educational stakeholders to develop and sustain an anti-bias "community of learners"?

    I believe the key is listening.  We must listen to our parents in our programs.  We must listen to our students in our programs.  We must listen to the staff members in our programs.

    Reflect on a time when you "[pushed] what-is to the what might be…".  How did your own critical self-reflection inform your eventual action steps in that situation?

    This year I have a child in my classroom whose mother is white and whose father is black (Haitian).  When we approached lessons on Martin Luther King, Jr., I mistakenly thought that this would be a great opportunity for the children to learn in a developmentally appropriate way about the history of blacks and whites in our country and MLK's dream for peace and unity among us all.  After the lesson, the mother of this child spoke to me that she did not want her children (she has an older son as well) to even know the terms black and white and that people are just people.  She also spoke about how her children are just as much white as they are black.  This helped me reflect on how I speak about race in the classroom and that not every child who has black ancestry has a family that wants to take on this cause.  In the future, I hope to have conversations with parents before presenting such lessons so that I can include their voices and tailor my lessons to my community.



    ------------------------------
    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Director/Teacher
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-14-2018 05:34 PM
    Hi Sherrie (and others interested in this discussion,
    I've been thinking a lot about your post over the last few days.  It can be hard to balance our need to deeply listen to parents and their beliefs and ideas about raising their children with sharing what we know about child development.
    Many parents, (especially white parents), feel that not discussing race with young children will keep them from internalizing racist ideas.  Yet we know that children start noticing race in infancy- that if adults don't discuss race and racism with children that they will take their exploration of these topics out of earshot of adults (starting at age 3 or 4) and that not discussing differences such as race and gender tends to increase children's bias levels rather than reducing them.  What have people tried in terms of sharing this information with parents in a caring, respectful manner?  What works?  What doesn't?

    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-15-2018 08:51 AM
    Meg, I'm so glad you addressed Sherrie's post. I, too, have been thinking about it since I read it but couldn't quite formulate the words to respond. (You did so beautifully.)

    Everything I've learned has indicated that pretending "people are people" is NOT the way to prevent bias and racism.

    Here's the link to a 10-minute podcast on teaching children inclusion and anti-bias. Monique Marshall is an expert on the topic and has some wonderful insights to share: http://www.bamradionetwork.com/student-centric-strategies/4686-teacher-students-tolerance-and-anti-bias-what-works.

    ------------------------------
    Rae Pica
    Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting
    Alexandria VA
    www.raepica.com
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-16-2018 10:00 AM
    Someone just alerted me to the fact that the link I posed isn't working. Not sure why, because it looks correct. Here it is again: http://www.bamradionetwork.com/student-centric-strategies/4686-teacher-students-tolerance-and-anti-bias-what-works

    Fingers crossed! It's such a good discussion.

    ------------------------------
    Rae Pica
    Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting
    Alexandria VA
    www.raepica.com
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-17-2018 04:43 PM
    Thanks Rae,
    When I was creating early childhood anti bias curriculum for AMAZE (www.amazeworks.org) I got to spend lots of time with the research on how young children develop identity and the risks of allowing them to handle stereotypes and bias on their own, without the input of caring, informed adults.  One thing I found really interesting is that when adults don't talk about race and other key of identity they tend to take their exploration of it out of earshot of adults- starting at age 3 or 4 all the way up through high school.  Thanks for posting the interview link.  I'm going to share it on the NAEYC diversity and equity facebook page as well.

    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-17-2018 09:03 AM
    Hi everyone,
    Here are the week 2 discussion questions for our virtual book club on "Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs".  Feel free to respond even if you haven't read the book.  We love to hear from everyone.

    In chapter 3, the authors talk about opportunities ("any factor that has the potential to fuel a program's anti-bias mission") and obstacles ("a factor that can slow, complicate or even stall shifting the program culture").  What opportunities for anti-bias work do you see in the programs you are a part of?  What obstacles do you see? 

    How do you make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities for anti-bias work?  What has helped you surmount obstacles? 

     

    In chapter 4 the authors talk about "creating a climate for taking risks" as an essential element for creating an anti-bias program.  Have you experienced a good climate for taking risks in early childhood programs you've been a part of?  How do leaders successfully create that kind of climate? 



    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-23-2018 04:41 PM
    Hi everyone,
    Here are the discussion questions for Chapters 5 and 6.  As always, feel free to chime in even if you have not yet read the book.  The more people chiming in- the more interesting the discussion is!
    • Chapter 5

      The authors tell us; "The foundation for working with families begins with a willingness to engage in reciprocal partnerships".  What kinds of actions help build a sense of partnership with families in ECE programs? 

       

      Good anti-bias education requires us to live with a certain amount of discomfort as we learn about new things and grow.  How do we create an atmosphere in which parents are willing to engage in uncomfortable conversations, with each other and with us?

       

      Chapter 6. 

    • All of us start our anti-bias journey at different places and progress at our own pace.  How can ECE leaders set up programs so each person gets support to grow and move forward- starting from where they actually are and moving forward as fast as they are able to? 

    • Working effectively with families across cultures, family configurations and other key differences in identity can be challenging for some teachers.  What can directors, coaches and other ECE leaders do to help teachers feel more confident as they learn to relate well with families that are different from them? 



    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-25-2018 01:49 PM
    Hello,
    I would like to  share the experience of  an early childhood teaching staff and administrators taking on the challenge of following the process to incorporate the anti-bias curriculum into the program, based on Derman-Sparks  first Anti-Bias Curriculum book.
    The place was  UMass Child Care System, Amherst Massachusetts The time was in the 1990"s.  our monthly parent potluck dinners, that included a meeting agenda,  would include discussion  topics such as our stand on gay and lesbian families in our program, personal safety curriculums, cultural sensitivity in the curriculum and etc. Whatever the topic, materials to share with parents were also  available. Parents felt free to  discuss wheteher  in or not in agreement.From my experience, as a teacher in that setting, the experience allowed parents to give input, voice concerns, listen. The key to this was that the first step taken as  an early childhood program was to engage in a year long process of discussing ourselves(values and beliefs), very emotional however very productive. This type of activity allowed  each of us to understand our peers much better as people. A team effort was evident.It also helped me to know  how values and beliefs gauge individual's teaching . We continued  with peer support groups. Each of us was in a small peer support group  to offer input on issues and concerns that may arise  amongst staff.

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    Beverlyn Cain
    Fayetteville NC
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  • 11.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-28-2018 09:38 PM
    Hi Beverlyn
    Thanks so much for sharing your story.  At book club this week we talked about how different anti bias work can look in different programs and how it should look different, because it needs to be tailored to each programs strengths and struggles.  We also talked a lot about starting with each person, whether they are parents or colleagues where they are and going from there.  It's so important for us to share our stories of what anti bias work looks like in different contexts.

    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: DEEA Interest Forum Virtual Book Club Discussion Questions: Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs

    Posted 05-28-2018 09:45 PM
    Once again, we had a great time together in the diversity and equity virtual book club.  It's so great to connect with colleagues all over the country.
    A couple of key questions that were asked about chapters 5 and 6:
    How do you make this work in settings that have fewer resources than the programs described in the book?  Staff might not have time to meet outside classrooms and parents working two and three jobs might not be able to join parent discussion groups.

    How do our own identities shape how we view the world.

    And a few key conclusions as well:
    Starting where people are at and moving forward from there is key.
    You can use your own story as a starting place to build empathy for others.
    Everyone has been a target for some reason. We have to understand that our experiences are not the same as those of others, but we can also use our own experiences being targeted as a way to connect and empathize.
    The idea of counter story telling:  You get to tell your own story and build power and empathy from that telling.

    (these are from my very rough notes- I'm hoping those who were there will correct them where needed)

    ------------------------------
    [Meg] [Thomas]
    [Early childhood consultant
    [St Paul ] [MN]
    ------------------------------