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Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

  • 1.  Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-18-2019 09:40 AM
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    I love the new position statement developed by NAEYC on Equity (attached). Equity is not the same as equality.  It is more about allowing all children the same opportunities.  Every child needs access to early childhood education that puts them on a level playing ground with everyone else. The statement includes advocating for funding to help us as professionals get the resources we need to appropriately help all children.

    Large centers and organizations like Head Start often have more access to funds than family childcare providers have to help children with disabilities or with challenging behaviors or even interpreters for language barriers.  In a family childcare setting, we usually don't have the same access to funding and other resources.   What avenues can in-home family childcare providers pursue to get more resources and funding to help put this statement into action?

    DeAnn Jones
    Co-Facilitator for the Family Child Care Interest Forum
    Discovery Place Child Care, LLC
    Bozeman, MT


  • 2.  RE: Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-18-2019 02:39 PM

    We need smaller centers and family childcare centers to be viewed as part of equity and policy and funding has to include us in the conversations. We are providing needed support for families in children who do not have access to bigger centers. For me equity is a journey not a destination and I want to know how we can be included in the large conversations more frequently. 

    Just going to cut and paste here from the document:

    "Child care homes in state funding systems for
    early childhood education. Ensure that these systems
    equitably support community-based programs and engage
    community members and families in activist and leadership
    roles. Support the educators who work in community-based
    programs so they can meet high-quality standards while
    allowing families to choose the best setting for their needs."

    So happy to see that and be included in the statement. 

    Sally Williams
    Director/Education Specialist
    Tempe, Arizona
    Las Vegas, Nevada

  • 3.  RE: Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-18-2019 05:46 PM
    Sally, I completely agree, and that same paragraph also stood out to me!  Like you said I think smaller centers and in-home childcare providers have good things to offer in the cause of equity, but they often lack the resources.  I particularly like the last line of that statement, "...allowing families to choose the best setting for their needs."  I know some children with developmental needs have heightened symptoms being in large groups, so centers are not parents' first choice in getting services, but since the funding goes in the direction of large centers or Head Start programs, parents have to enroll them in those settings.  If there were more supports and resources for in-home settings, parents could have that options to best fit their child's needs.  The way that is worded I think will get conversations going and allow more resources and funding to smaller centers and in-home care.  It will be fun to see what develops.  We just need to keep the conversation going about this new document and get policy makers on board!  Thanks for sharing that paragraph!

    DeAnn Jones
    Co-Facilitator for the Family Child Care Interest Forum
    Discovery Place Child Care, LLC
    Bozeman, MT

  • 4.  RE: Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-18-2019 05:18 PM

    Thank you DeAnn for sharing NAEYC's new position statement, Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education. 

    I wanted to share the text of the position statement and I also wanted to share the link where you can access the position statement in English and Spanish
    Looking forward to seeing everyone's engagement with the statement in Hello and at this year's Annual.
    Position Statement
    All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society.

    Advancing the right to equitable learning opportunities requires recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that accord privilege to some and are unjust to others. Advancing the full inclusion of all individuals across all social identities will take sustained efforts far beyond those of early childhood educators alone. Early childhood educators, however, have a unique opportunity and obligation to advance equity. With the support of the early education system as a whole, they can create early learning environments that equitably distribute learning opportunities by helping all children experience responsive interactions that nurture their full range of social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and linguistic abilities; that reflect and model fundamental principles of fairness and justice; and that help them accomplish the goals of anti-bias education. Each child will

    •  demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities;
    •  express comfort and joy with human diversity, use accurate language for human differences, and form deep, caring human connections across diverse backgrounds;
    •  increasingly recognize and have language to describe unfairness (injustice) and understand that unfairness hurts;
    •  have the will and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.1

    Early childhood education settings-including centers, family child care homes, and schools-are often among children's first communities beyond their families. These settings offer important contexts for children's learning. They should be environments in which children learn that they are valued by others, learn how to treat others with fairness and respect, and learn how to embrace human differences rather than ignore or fear them.

    When early childhood educators use inclusive teaching approaches, they demonstrate that they respect diversity and value all children's strengths. Early childhood educators can model humility and a willingness to learn by being accountable for any negative impacts of their own biases on their interactions with children and their families. They can work to ensure that all children have equitable access to the learning environment, the materials, and the adult–child and child–child interactions that help children thrive. Early childhood educators can recognize and support each child's unique strengths, seeking through personal and collective reflection to avoid biases-explicit or implicit-that may affect their decision making related to children.

    To effectively advance equity and embrace diversity and full inclusion, early childhood educators need work settings that also embrace these goals-not only for the children and families served but also for the educators themselves. Early childhood educators should be well prepared in their professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach in diverse, inclusive settings. They also need to be supported by, and to advocate for, equity- and diversity-focused public policies. Each of these areas is addressed more fully in the recommendations below. Although the primary focus of this statement is on equitable learning opportunities for young children, we stress that such opportunities depend on equitable treatment of early childhood educators as well. We make these recommendations understanding the critical importance of building a recognized early childhood profession and a system with sufficient funding to ensure that all its members receive equitable compensation and professional recognition that reflect the importance of their work.

    Recognizing that both institutional and interpersonal systems must change, our recommendations begin with a focus on individual reflection. Across all roles and settings, advancing equity requires a dedication to self-reflection, a willingness to respectfully listen to others' perspectives without interruption or defensiveness, and a commitment to continuous learning to improve practice. Members of groups that have historically enjoyed advantages must be willing to recognize the often-unintended consequences of ignorance, action, and inaction and how they may contribute to perpetuating existing systems of privilege. It is also important to recognize the many reactions associated with marginalization that begin in early childhood and range from internalization to resistance.

    Lark Sontag
    Community Engagement Manager
    National Association for the Education of Young Children
    Washington DC

  • 5.  RE: Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-19-2019 08:31 AM
    I would suspect that you also do not have enough access to training to work with children with special needs. It is very important to obtain professional development in this area if you are accepting children with special needs into your care.

    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ

  • 6.  RE: Advancing Equity in Early Childcare Settings

    Posted 09-19-2019 10:06 AM
    Nora, this is often true.  They do have the access to trainings, but it is harder to find, travel to, take days off for it, and pay for it.  It is easier for centers and government funded programs to have the training come to them during a paid inservice, and it is free for those teachers.  Another issue is there is some pressure that in-home childcare providers feel to not discriminate based on disability (which is the law), and if a parent wants their child in your program, you cannot say I can't take the child based on his disability.  There are ways around it, though, through the way you word it, such as saying I cannot take this particular child who happens to have a disability because I lack the resources to fully meet his individual needs.  Anyway, bottom line is that the resources to help are more challenging to get for small centers and family childcare providers.  I am hopeful that through this new position statement that changes will occur that makes resources more readily available for all people who work with children!  This will more fully level the playing field for all children and open more options for parents.

    DeAnn Jones
    Co-Facilitator for the Family Child Care Interest Forum
    Discovery Place Child Care, LLC
    Bozeman, MT