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Each and Every Child book discussion - Tuesday evening group

  • 1.  Each and Every Child book discussion - Tuesday evening group

    Posted 08-03-2020 08:57 AM
    See below for the discussion notes for the Tuesday evening book study.

    Each and Every Child: Teaching Preschool with an Equity Lens
    Reflections, Part 1 – Nurturing Your Own Empathy and Understanding Behavior

    As a group, we reflected on several questions related to the reading. 

    1. Have you been a target of bias yourself? Individuals in our group have experienced bias related to age, body type, gender, economic status, race, professionalism (have been made to feel less than because of work in the ECE field and not being a "real" teacher). 
    2. What are some of your own biases? Biases discussed were racial biases, particularly for group members who grew up in small towns with little racial diversity and gender biases, specifically towards boys. We discussed trying to look for what each individual child needs from us in the moment. We also touched on the implicit bias tests available through Harvard as mentioned in another Hello post. 
    3. We discussed the tips on page 16-17 of the book and talked about the value of reading books by authors who are in different groups than your own and seeking our relationships with people who are different than you are. We discussed building diverse children's libraries in our programs, with the book Dream Big Little One specifically mentioned and reviewing the documentary Babies. In addition, we talked about other books that could serve as resources: Creating Diversity-Rich Environments for Young Children by Angele Sancho Passe, Roots and Wings: Affirming Culture and Preventing Bias in Early Childhood  by Stacey York, and Anti-Bias Education for Young Children & Ourselves by Louise Derman-Sparks& Julie Olsen Edwards with Catherine M. Goins. Additional resources for further education included Ijumma Jordan and Ibram X. Kendi (podcast with Brene Brown and TedTalk). Other ideas included inviting family members in to share things of their choosing from their home lives during an "All About Me" week for each child and including additional items in dramatic play areas. Home Visits were discussed as a way to build relationships and get to know family members while learning more about their cultures. Other ways to reach out is to ask family members to provide phonetic spellings of some important words from the home language in order to help meet children's needs, learning a song in the home language of each child, incorporating sign language. Programs could consider writing an Equity Plan to move forward in an actionable way. 
    4. We discussed the expulsion/suspension rate for black boys and ways to decrease that: alignment with the Pyramid Model, training in new teacher prep programs, providing leadership training for the "great" teacher who becomes a director/administrator with little to no training, removing inappropriate expectations, being aware of our own roles in perpetuating the need for children to adapt to white European culture and pausing to step back and ask if the child's culture is influencing their behaviors. 
    5. Consider some of the holidays that are traditionally celebrated in many ECE programs – Mother's Day and Father's Day, for example that are not relevant for every family. 
    6. Make sure schools are more appropriate – they are ready for the child so the child doesn't have to be ready for them. 
    7. We talked about being aware of our own gut feelings/instincts and the fact that they could be based on implicit biases we are unaware of. 
    8. As we wrapped up our discussion, we were reminded that this is ongoing work and we should expect difficulties. There will be times when we say the wrong thing, and as a whole, white people need to listen and to work at this continually. 

    Additional resources: - Podcast with Brene Brown and Ibram X. Kendi How to be an Anti-Racist library talk - why we capitalize Black and not white 

    Confronting our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-Bias in Early Childhood by Tamar Jacobson 

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    Dawn Hays

    Director, Campus Child Center,| UW-La Crosse | 608.785.8813 

    Pronouns: she, her, hers

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  • 2.  RE: Each and Every Child book discussion - Tuesday evening group

    Posted 08-11-2020 03:30 PM

    Tuesday Evening Book Group
    Each and Every Child: Teaching Preschool with an Equity Lens
    Reflections, Part 2 – Creating an Equitable Classroom

    August 4, 2020

    1. Started by reflecting on a quote from Chapter 8-Including All Children in Making and Tinkering (p.51) "Remember, a child's culture is really about the people and things that are part of his everyday life, home, and community." Anything brought from home is meaningful to the children. The book broadened the idea of STEAM to include culture and diversity.
    2. Regarding the example at the beginning of Chapter 4 where two children were throwing rice above their heads: The teacher thought at first that they were misbehaving, then realized that they were imitating a South Asian cultural ceremony. This connection could only be made because the teacher was aware of this ceremony. We discussed how important it is for teachers to go out of their way to expose ourselves to unfamiliar cultures. This would enable teachers to recognize cultural reflections in children's behavior.
    3. What is one thing that you plan on doing after reading these chapters?
    • A cookbook made up of recipes from family's cultural backgrounds
    • Introducing journals as one way to facilitate children telling their own stories.
    • A multicultural art installation for Week of the Young Children.
    1. We discussed the chapter on refugee (and immigrant) families-helping children accept and appreciate the different foods (which may smell unfamiliar), the learning of multiple languages. We feel thankful that there is more awareness of the value of cultural diversity rather than having families be "embarrassed" and feel the need to hide differences. Connecting with the social service agencies that assist these communities can be useful.
    2. Teachers who have read The Anti-Bias Curriculum, have worked in NAEYC Accredited Centers, or used ECERS are familiar with integrating diversity into classroom materials, i.e. dolls representing various racial and ethnic groups, multicultural foods, the "tourist curriculum", etc. As we discussed challenges that we might have in implementing ideas, we noted the frustration that is created when teachers feel content with what they are doing simply by including multicultural materials. (Similar to thinking you have a Reggio program just because you have displayed a blue vase with flowers in it.) We want to encourage teachers to go deeper in the equity journey. We should not have to wait until a child brings something up or an incident occurs to address tolerance and appreciation of difference. We can be proactive about discussing diversity and anti-bias issues. Another challenge is being afraid to do something equity-related due to fear of being criticized for doing it wrong. We saw this happen in our field after the anti-bias curriculum book came out and teachers were criticizing other teachers or programs for the way holidays were celebrated at school. We hope that we can help teachers to be more confident to take risks and be open to feedback if there is a misunderstanding. Conversations around the subject are so important for growth.
    3. The value of storytelling was discussed. We think children are engaging in less imaginative and creative dramatic play due to their use of screens and their constant exposure to commercial television programs. Finding exciting ways to engage children in acted out stories might help them develop their own. Resources: Five Minute Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald, Paper Stories by Jean Stangl, Cut & Tell Stories, and Storytelling Festivals.
    4. Kathy told a story about a father who came to school and showed the children how he did his job installing roofing shingles. The children loved it and the experience seemed to build the fathers confidence and help the father open up to the teacher at school. This was a great example of celebrating the family's culture/knowledge at school. This seemed especially significant because of the need for more males in early childhood classrooms.
    5. We felt that the book has really helped us with the "equity lens". Our definition of diversity has been expanded. We're not just looking at race, but many other dimensions and how they interact. We are also being encouraged to think about how diversity fits into all areas, even areas like STEM or STEAM.
    6. We ended by reflecting on two quotes:

    Dan Hodgins-"Stop making moral issues out of developmental ones."

    Lisa Murphy-"What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who are you doing it for?" (To paraphrase the last question 'What purpose does it serve? What is the developmental goal?')

    Lisa Thompson
    Early Childhood Advocate
    St. Louis, Missouri