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Juneteenth celebration

  • 1.  Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 28 days ago
    I'd like to do something to celebrate Juneteenth this year. But while I consider it an important American holiday, something about a Euro-American director putting on a program for a school that currently has 0 African American students, it also feels weird. How do we balance the risks of appropriation and the risk of under-recognizing American communities?

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    Jeanne deMarrais
    The Mulberry Tree
    Santa Monica CA
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  • 2.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 28 days ago
    I have had the same exact thoughts. I am anxiously awaiting replies to this question.

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    Connie Tatro
    Owner/operator
    Connie's Family Child Care
    North Adams MA
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  • 3.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 28 days ago
    Some questions I thought of...

    Are any of your teachers AA? Does your community or surrounding area have a celebration?

    I am in Milwaukee and the city has a large block party each year to celebrate.

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    Amber Brooks
    Milwaukee WI
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  • 4.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 27 days ago
    I know at our center we are NAEYC accredited, so therefore we are not suppose to celebrate individual holidays. We celebrate Black History Month, but to single out Juneteenth, I would think would not be acceptable. We can't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Thanksgiving, etc. I am interested to hear how centers celebrate this. Thanks.
    Christine Adamson
    Illinois

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    Christine Adamson
    President
    ILAEYC Joliet Area Chapter
    Joliet IL
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  • 5.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 27 days ago
    Interesting to note that celebrating individual holidays is a negative for accreditation, so negative that you celebrate no individual holidays and do not feel at liberty to do so. I could see how that policy would avoid this dilemma and some others. It would probably be worth noting on a tour that this is one of the features that distinguishes small home programs from larger institutions.

    But as much as I see benefits from avoiding individual holiday celebrations, I don't think, at least for our program, that they outweigh the benefits children have received from our celebrations. Perhaps this will be one in a series of pitfalls that persuades me otherwise. It seems that you are happy not to do them.

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    Jeanne deMarrais
    The Mulberry Tree
    Santa Monica CA
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  • 6.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 27 days ago
    Let me be clear: I never said I was happy to not celebrate them. You should not assume!

    For an example: During the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate the season of Fall. We discuss the season of Fall, the weather of the 🍃🍂,  we celebrate what we are thankful for, the different foods, etc.

    Maybe there is a way to celebrate Juneteenth for the summer season since it is in June?

    I would prefer to find ways to celebrate all of us, than to assume I don't celebrate or I don't care.

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    Christine Adamson
    President
    ILAEYC Joliet Area Chapter
    Joliet IL
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  • 7.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 26 days ago
    We are a NAEYC center for 20+ years, I have never heard that you can't celebrate individual holidays?
    Please explain where you read this.
    Thank you,
    Catherine

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    Catherine Wildes
    Jax Bch FL
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  • 8.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 25 days ago
    I have never heard that an accredited center can't celebrate individual holidays, either.  Certainly, it would be appropriate to approach holidays from the child's perspective, not the adults' perspective.  And celebrations would need to be historically accurate, so those two caveats would mean no Pilgrims and "Indians" for Thanksgiving. And an accredited church program can certainly celebrate Christmas, but a non-church-supported program would need to approach the holiday season from a different perspective. For example, when I was teaching in the lab school at San Antonio College in the early 90s, I asked the children if they noticed anything special going on in town, and they said, "the lights!"  It took me a while to realize they were talking about all the lights on the River Walk, so we talked about that and decided we wanted that in our room!  I hung lights all around the room. For the Dramatic Play area, I cut out a big piece of blue paper to represent the river, and I turned over the wooden rocking piece of equipment (that was usually outdoors) so that it became a bridge crossing the river.  On one side of the river was a restaurant/kitchen, and on the other side was a table with table cloth where customers would order and eat.  This all came from ideas the children had. I also checked with the family who would keep their child home if we celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday, and they were fine with my plan. And grateful.

    Anyway, I would also like to see where it is stated that accredited centers cannot celebrate individual holidays. It's been a long time since I really knew the accreditation criteria, and I know it has been updated and revised.

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    Cathy McAuliffe, PhD
    Adjunct Professor
    NorthWest Arkansas Community College
    Bentonville, Arkansas
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  • 9.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 25 days ago
    In the early days of anti-bias approaches, many people mistook our position on how to work with holidays; we were viewed as being "anti-holidays." Instead, my preschool class would reach out to families about upcoming holidays, asking them to tell / show (photos or conversations at end of the day) if their family does anything special during that period.  Along with the key part -- asking the students what they are actually seeing and experiencing -- this knowledge from them would direct what we did.  It isn't the teacher's job to teach cultural practices. It is our job to honor and respect what families do, both those in our school and those in our global community.  Ask someone known to the students to present a story or artifact that they are involved with. Talk about what students know and want to know about a holiday in their community; if it isn't known at all, then bring in a couple of aspects they can relate to such as a book or video showing others celebrating.  Find the places where there is a connection to their interests.

    None of the above is "celebrating."  It is teaching social studies -- "how people live." Sometimes we study our own families and sometimes we study other children's families (which has to happen primarily around daily life, not holidays.) Think about resources, correct knowledge, focusing on children everywhere, and following the curiosity of your students and their families. That is how I approach this.

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    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Centers
    Chicago IL
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  • 10.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 26 days ago
    Juneteenth is in our community a cultural celebration we understand that not everyone will educate or celebrate this with us as it is for us a holiday of sorts. It is indeed however a pivotal point in American history and should definitely at the very least  be discussed with all students no matter their background. In any programs I have run we celebrate as a colleague mentioned seasons fall, winter spring because we want all children to be included and we understand that some children do not celebrate various holidays for religious reasons. However Juneteenth is a great opportunity to show our children that representation matters and that an atrocity that took way to long to get over was legally put to an end. I always suggest doing tons of research on the celebration ask community members how they celebrate or acknowledge on this day. For the African American community it is important, we hold family and community events, we celebrate sing dance and reflect on the events that brought our people to a place where we had to fight for freedoms that were denied to us for so long. Anything can be a lesson and this is a great one for children of all ages and backgrounds. I personally do affirmations and reflection lessons around Juneteenth and of course some history, we focus on the positive parts of gaining our freedom and go from there. There are so many ways to weave this celebration into classrooms and programs so that all are included and can feel the strength of a people that have been oppressed for so long.

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    Tiyana Morris
    Provider
    Aloha OR
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  • 11.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thanks Tiyana - good perspective. I bought a few books which I am hoping will give some nice starting points. One of my teachers came up with what I thought was a great activity theme - communication. The time it took for the emancipation message to reach people is a big part of the history. I am looking forward to seeing how he will develop the idea and wondering if any readers of this forum have ideas for a communication-based activity that might work with Juneteenth.

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    Jeanne deMarrais
    The Mulberry Tree
    Santa Monica CA
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  • 12.  RE: Juneteenth celebration

    Posted 26 days ago

    I'm interested in your staff member's idea to embed the Juneteenth study within a communications unit. I appreciate how it avoids appropriation of "celebrating" an event that does not culturally belong to your enrolled families. Yet you are exposing children to an important part of American history and introducing a celebration they will encounter later as they become part of a wider community.

     The naeyc standard, as I understand it, seeks to avoid the practice of cultural tourism: popping all sorts of "celebration lite" events into a curriculum, without really looking at deeper issues of everyday bias and how to create meaningful inclusion.

    In teaching about Juneteenth in the context of communications, you are able to include Black American experience in a framework that makes developmental sense to the age group, and offers a deeper context for the origins of this holiday. At the same time, it does not preclude looking at why the holiday is meaningful and important to all of us currently.

    Please keep reporting on how this evolves!



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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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