Our book group on Anti-Bias Education and Young Children has met for two weeks now. These are some of my thoughts as moderator (Kresha Warnock):
As a retired early childhood educator, who has spent years in the field in just about every role, from teacher to home visitor to director to coach to college instructor, I continue to be impressed with our early childhood educators. The women in this group are from around the country. Several are family childcare providers; one is a center-based infant-toddler specialist; one is a Head Start Administrator. We still have other members joining. Each is committed to gaining a deeper understanding of anti-bias education so she can apply it to her own program. We are so excited to learn from each other and from this seminal update of the book.
We do frame each of our discussions in light of the current pandemic crisis.
Thanks so much gathering/documenting for our group.
In all honesty I am not sure where to start. Reflecting back on reading the first two chapters, I realized that I have been moving through life with blinders on. Yes I have heard and listened to stories, seen media coverage and seen interaction. However until recently I have not been truly hearing, focusing and taking in what is being said or what I have seen. Or truly paying attention to my own thoughts and feelings.
I started on this journey after attending a challenging behaviours online conference where over a week I attend webinars. Through reflection I became more focused and aware on how my actions or lack of action and reactions were contributing to what might be seen as a challenging behavior of a child. As I began to focus and reflect with peers I wanted to delve deeper in my own beliefs, biases and isms. Which brought me to purchasing the book and then joining in this group and digging deeper into myself.
A lot has come up for me over the last couple of weeks as we meet and discuss. I have come to realize that I have much work to do.As I filled in the, my social identities portrait, I found myself moving through the childhood portion confidently, it wasn't until I moved into the current section that I stopped and took a closer look back on my childhood and listened to my inner voice which brought up some suppressed feelings and biases. I will continue to reflect and educate myself as I become more aware and respectful to others.I am thankful to be in this amazing group.
Thanks again Denise, have a great week.Take careJanet
Brigitte's Reflections from Chapters 1 and 2:
I had to stop and analyze my interactions with people of color over the years. I had not considered how others may want to be referred to whether individually or as a group of people. Many new sensitivities have been adopted, especially in the past decade. I need to ask more questions and acknowledge my prejudice/bias as it pertains to gender, race, ability, and sexuality.The activity on page 32 of the book was thought-provoking and eye-opening. The categories of privilege or prejudice stirred up a lot of emotions as you reflect from your childhood vs. current status. Some questions I didn't know the meanings of the scenarios presented. I found myself reading through chapter 2 multiple times for clarification of the author's definitions to the terms. Other categories I did understand, but I wasn't as strong in my beliefs as I had previously thought. I listened with an open mind as some of my peers shared experiences from childhood with very limited to no people of color interactions. I tried to think of how my life could be positively impacted by being surrounded by people that look like me everywhere that I went. I tried to imagine how I would feel empowered by those positive images and feeling like I was enough and respected from childhood into adulthood. I would then be validated by my presence and work and not just for Affirmative Action.Brigitte Y WillisA Better Day CLCFR-49736Quality Rated ⭐️⭐️2019
Denise's Reflections from Chapter 1 and 2
I can't help but consider the basic human rights mentioned at the beginning of Chapter 1, including survival, protection, full participation, and development, when reflecting on my personal feelings about anti-bias education as an ECE professional. Working with young children over the years, I felt as though I always tried to prioritize the well being of the children that have come into my care, above all else. Looking back, however, I realize that some of the negative opinions I had established about some parents (due their engagement in behaviors I felt were inappropriate), were at times reflected in my interactions with their children. This not only causes me feelings of shame, but forces me to commit to taking responsibility for my actions through self-reflection and continued education in order to eliminate my biases.
In addition, I found the Social Identities Portrait activity so challenging to think about and discuss. Not until I completed that activity did I feel such a level of discomfort regarding my social identity and privilege. That is not to say that I am not proud of my cultural heritage, Christian values, and my education, etc., but I now realize how important it is for me to be more thoughtful about the diverse backgrounds and social identities of others while continuing this journey toward anti-bias education.
I was blindsided by how much I am the "average American", other than my gender and family structure. I think this has shaped my mind in a way that I am very intune to gender stereotypes. However, I have not had to feel the insecurities as others have and this impacts how I react to other biases. I was also surprised to learn how much inequality we have today still in our society.