We are so happy you are here!
Alyse Eisenberg-Dallas, Jewish Federation
Liz Sherman BJE Wilmette IL
Heidi from ABCD Head Start Boston Mass :)
Janet Sear BJE Chicago
Ali Hurewitz, Temple Sinai Nursery School, Washington DC
Hi everyone! Abby from Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago
I'm Dominique Viteretto from South b
South Burlington , VT
I'm Chris Stetson, I'm an Infant-Toddler teacher at the Smith College CECE in Northampton, Massachusetts. Hi!
lynne McEwen Dexter Southfield, Brookline MA
Susan Anderson- Bloomington, IN
Ray Sherman JCYS Wicker Park Chicago, IL
Charleen Kuykendall Gan Preschool San Rafael, CA
Sharon Cuddy Kindergarten teacher in Somerville MA
Gretchen Cauble-Chatham MA
preschool in Wakefield, MA
—Ilana Dvorin Friedman is a child development consultant, instructor, and researcher. She is passionate about Jewish early childhood education, giving voice to educators’ experiences, and designing and implementing professional development opportunities. Ilana’s work focuses on reconceptualizing the roles of social justice and inquiry in the early childhood classroom. Over the last decade, she has been an adjunct instructor at a variety of academic institutions teaching courses, such as child development, family and culture, and social and historical perspectives on early care and education. Ilana is the advisor for the JUF Cohort in Erikson Institute’s MSECE online program. She graduated with her PhD in child development from the dual program at Loyola University Chicago and Erikson completing her dissertation on gender beliefs of teachers in Orthodox Jewish early childhood programs. Ilana lives in Chicago with her husband and their four children.
—This is Anna Hartman, your friendly notetaker :)
Giovonne Mary Calenda from Lincoln School in Providence, RI
—As we discuss issues of identity and justice, you might feel a little uncomfortable. Some disequilibrium.
—Might be especially challenging if you have experienced being marginalized or if you feel you have benefited from someone else’s marginalization.
—We believe we can change. This mindset is key. Development and learning as lifelong processes.
—Q What would you do as the educator witnessing this play?
—Q: Who am I? (What captures your attention about yourself?) 60 seconds to write down descriptors of yourself.
A woman, an educator, a wife, a friend, an aunt, a neighbor, a gardener, a chef, a listener, a do-er, a daughter, a bartender, a
Jewish, musician, editor, woman, partner, co-parent, mom, bisexual, married, musical theater fan, reader, entrepreneur
—What categories do your responses fit into?
I said white, but I don’t know if I would have a month ago!
—Ilana reflects Robin Diangelo, in her book White Fragility, reflects on how members of dominant groups may leave out that group in identity description
I am a musician. I am an early childhood educator. I am an older white man. I am a father and a husband.
—This exercise sets us up for the work ahead as we explore social identities and anti-bias.
—We might have feelings about protecting children and safeguarding them.
—When we talk about the child, young children also have social identities they bring into our classrooms. We want children to have agency and voice in the decisions they make about themselves. Want child active in that process. We do talk about children as sponges, but we want to make space for them to actively construct their identities, even while they swim in a sea of all kinds of messages.
—Racism as a smog that we breathe in by virtue of living in our society.
—These messages are more and less overt.
—There is also Gender Binary smog we breathe in.
—As children swim through this sea, they are working through stereotypes, contradictions, expectations, and misconceptions
—How is this happening in their interactions?
—How they navigate that can be based on their relationships.
—“Wow I love you new shirt” might convey a message of classism. My self worth might be related to the material.
—Sometimes children talk about gender without words.
reminds me of Alfie Cohen's teachings
—Perhaps there is gendering in the layout of the classroom.
And they get these messages through our nonverbal reactions and expressions!
—Our job is to recognize the messages we may be sending. Implicit bias.
Anna I really appreciate your notes! Thank you!
Are you going to share ways to set up our classrooms to be less biased?
I think it is important to note- we are striving to implement an Anti-Bias approach to ECE. The learning curve is steep, and their is intention vs reality, which is hard to measure
—How do we represent family in our classrooms? Do we have representations of all kinds? Do we allow open ways of sharing? How to avoid scripts, since they can undermine children’s ability to develop own positive identity?
The recording and resources will be posted on www.jparadigm.org/webinars
—When thinking about diversity, we want children to find joy and comfort in diversity.
—Want to promote empathy. To come together and recognize the beauty in that we share and what is different.
—Need to reflect on how we can help children to have comfort and joy in exploring difference? What language will we give them?
—An example of ableism. We might share a book or a story. We need to help children see the effects of our ideas. How to have convo about difference by using a critical lens? Story of child in a wheelchair? Who is the center of the story? What are the messages about fixing, or identity? Focus on helping children seek out what is fair.
Always ask yourself: Who writes the stories, who benefits from the stories, and who is missing from the stories.
—How to help children ask Qs to see who the story is about and why and how unfairness might hurt. Moving beyond acceptance.
—Want to offer chance to talk about bias.
—Want children to feel empowered to have agency, to stand up against injustice
—Let children walk and look around to be sure that the school is set up to be inclusive of everyone.
—Imp to focus on all of these goals.
—What is impt about anti-bias education is that it can apply to many age groups. This is meant for young children which demonstrates the importance of how we go through a parallel process as adults.
-What are our own identities? What is our own comfort with diversity? How have we absorbed stereotypes and breathed in the smog around us? How have we benefited or harmed? Getting to activism requires quite a bit of dialogue.
—Creating spaces and fostering cultures that support dialogue.
—How are we setting up ways for children to model courage?
—Q: Children learn prejudice from…
family environment, media
children learn prejudice from what they observe
The people around them
and books, too
Home beliefs/behaviors, community
Children learn prejudice from their environment
As well as the silence of talking about diversity
I mean *not talking
—We are going to teach prejudice. That is why we need so much reflection in the process.
Environment, families, socials
—The role of silence.
the way their family reacts to diversity. Also through media, toys (and I always think that when a child is given a toy, it is a direct reflection of a parents values)
—When we are silent or silencing we might signal that differences are wrong or bad; this denies a person identity and perpetuates systemic oppression and power.
—How do we interact with young children when they act questions?
Sushing can also lead to a since of shame. Children are seeing injustice and difference, so without a healthy discussion, children have to come up with answers on their own, and this is a breading ground for misconceptions.
—How to recognize and not shame the child and acknowledge that is important question and not give all the answers?
—Anti-bias is a framework for reconceptualizing our behavior—lens for viewing and assessing.
—In case you have trouble reading the poll: Q: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of incorporating an anti-bias framework in your context? Or, what continues to be the most challenging aspects if you already apply an anti-bias lens to your practice?
Choices are:Feelings of disequilibrium or discomfort in this process as adults. Fears about inadvertently teaching prejudices or inaccurate language to describe differences and social identities.The amount of time and support involved in assessing, reflecting, and implementing this framework.Issues of adapting it within your specific school culture and community- concerns about buy-in from families and colleagues.
1. Feelings of disequilibrium or discomfort in this process as adults.
2. Fears about inadvertently teaching prejudices or inaccurate language to describe differences and social identities.
3. The amount of time and support involved in assessing, reflecting, and implementing this framework.
4. Issues of adapting it within your specific school culture and community- concerns about buy-in from families and colleagues.
some schools do not realize how biased their centers are, for people of color like me it is really hard to advocate sometimes
—We want to be courageous and risk takers and say, we need to revisit, I am trying to find the right words, because this is important.
—Maybe issues of adapting this in your communities. Families might be experiencing disequilibrium. Some might be eager and others voicing concern.
I had to choose one, but all are in fact challenges.
This framework is new, so we have not experienced this in action, we don't know what it looks like- so it is very hard to invision and enact. We have also found that there are many different perspectives for how ABE can be taught and sometimes we get caught up in differences of approach.
—The fact that as educators who want to improve on this, good to recognize that this is necessary and that I need to learn. A good place to start. Going around my classroom to see how I am not perpetuating ideas I don’t wish to convey. How might we conduct an audit of our own classrooms?
—What might be barriers and moments of resistance? This is all data to know how to move forward. These challenges are real and they are hard. This gives us an idea of where we want to set our goals.
—Best way forward? Via intentionality.
—Maybe we set smaller goals.
I guess the importance is to start.
—Maybe should have a critical buddy? Engage in your own reflections on yourself. Making these areas focus or lens for your journaling or documentation.
—Maybe want to assess what is available or in the classroom, and how being used.
—We will share these resources out after the webinar, along with slide deck and recording and polls--
—Resources to help you take a first step.
—Books and materials for children’s play can be a place to start. As can an anti-bias position statement.
—Balance between teacher-initiatid and child-initiated entry points.
—Partnering with families.
—Back to the story of Maya telling Jack “You can’t be king!”:
—From a gender equity position, Maya can be whatever Maya wants to be. Ask Jack, Why? What is Maya is black? Maybe Jack is invoking a discourse of white privilege, encompassing intersectionality (race/gender)? Maybe ableness is related? Could be much happening here. I don’t want to shame Jack—want to hear what he is thinking and why to determine how to engage.
Welcoming Luisiana Meléndez, a clinical professor at Erikson Institute and director of the Institute’s Bilingual/ESL Certificate Program. Her teaching at Erikson focuses on the role of culture in child development and parenting and on the sociohistorical foundations of early childhood and bilingual education in the United States. In the last two years she has been working with Gateways to Opportunity, the Illinois statewide professional development support system, on developing competencies that will be included in a credential specifically designed for early childhood practitioners working with children growing up with more than one language. In addition to her work in early childhood teacher education and professional development, Dr. Meléndez has served in several workgroups and advisory boards convened around issues of bilingual and multilingual development and is currently a member of the Chicago Board of Education.
—Rscrch very clear that children aware very early of the ways others are different from them and from each others. BC children are meaning makers, they want to make sense of the world around them, they are trying ti understand the differences they see.
—What if someone would say they are blind to another part of your identity? People would not like this. Nothing inherently wrong in being aware. What is unacceptable is contributing to negative stereotypes and more.
—How to take this energy of today to prepare for longevity—long-term implementation?
—How to take this and move forward so that it sticks?
—I think everyone is aware. This moment has made racism painfully visible to everyone. Issue is not new. But has become evident to many more ppl.
—Therefore important for educators to understand that efforts to combat this and other isms is a long term effort. Longstanding issues require longterm work.
—Bc our work encompasses values and beliefs, our schools are foundational. This is humbling work but surely welcome in our programs. Being aware of our power can serve to sustain our efforts, including the anti-bias framework.
do you know if there are materials to help teachers be critical buddies for each other?
—Find critical buddy or colleagues that are willing to engage with you in this opportunity from the beginning of school. Individuals willing to start making the change. Cannot put it off any more.
I am thinking of co-teachers, and how they can share feedback and ideas, without it feeling to raw, scary and painful to get critical feedback
—Q: How to recognize the expertise families bring to the table?
—Establishing true partnerships with families around any issue can be hard; may be hampered by invisible hierarchy.
—Recognizing that families have knowledge that is valuable and critical to this journey.
—Family expertise and point of view needs to be there, since children are part of families!
—Efforts to engage in this kind of work can be made harder by the fact that families may have a particular point of view about this kind of work. May be reluctant to have very young child to in a classroom or school where discussing differences and oppression and privilege in such a way.
—Looking at dual language learners:
Where do I find that research :)
—Children’s identity comes from many factors. I ask students to think about a memory that they have of closeness or intimacy with a caring person in their lives. And then we talk about role of language in that memory. Usually salient. Language is perceived prenatally. When they are born, has been shown that children prefer the languages they heard in utero. Language is very important part of identity.
Side question--will we receive training certificates for attending this webinar?
How does that affect babies that are adopted outside of their mother's birth language?
Janet that is a good question.
—Lang plays huge role in socialization. In communicating values. In the things families want the children to have. Therefore v impt (because of preference and identity); being exposed to more than one language has many benefits. And yet a misconception atet if you speak more than one language to a young child they will get confused or have a language delay.
Yes. We will send certificates of participation via Eventbrite.
—Children are capable of leaning two languages from the beginning.
—Oftentimes invisible social hierarchy (English as language in the mainstream)—children speaking another languages may inadvertently be seen to be at risk. If their language is not represented in school, this communicates to them that the other language is not as impt or as valuable.
—Question: What are our blindspots?
—One of the blindspots may be a reluctance to be critically reflective about our own biases and beliefs.
—Examining the attitudes that may color our thoughts is not easy and must be a long-term process.
—Back to issue of families and how to engage them: Because fams bring own biases and beliefs, there can be a lot of tension in this shared educational project.
—When this tensions come up, oftentimes we tend to see that as an opportunity to make their voices and positions be heard and validated. When there is tension between what a family or educator wants, the educator holds the onus of engaging in a true dialogue, listening to the family. Communicating that you value their point of view (even if you don’t agree). A very hard thing to do.
—Humans tend to approach those circumstances as opportunity to affirm; impt to find opportunities for true dialogue. Imp to find best time of day! Without dismissing when a parent brings it up.
—Authentic effort to listen opens opportunity for changes and for meeting somewhere.
—Key: Inviting families! To book reading or activity around this topic and inviting them to ask questions. More time and effort but that kind of approach is more likely to generate true partnership and therefore moving forward with anti-bias educational work.
—Q: Implications of culture on child-rearing and development
—Everything is related to culture!
—Yes there are universal goals that families share for their children.
For the time being, we will not be able to have conversations or any meaningful contact with families.
—Goals will also vary across and within cultures.
—Q: So overwhelming to start the journey now with COVID-19
—This COVID crisis has made it more clear how necessary this is. But surely overwhelming is an understatement!
—May be pop for reflection, new alliances, small steps.
—Without losing sight of the ultimate goal.
—“Step by step, you go far.”
—Especially in this time, one of my hopes is that the energy I have seen and heard in thinking about how we switched to remote learning and how we thought about families and our assumptions. I think this did bring some new things to our attention. There is more about families that I didn’t know before. This is exciting opportunity to think about how to be innovative and creative. SO much to think about right now and yet this is fertile ground for innovation.
—EC educators are innovators.
—Q: How do you weave diversity education in an early childhood curriculum without offending parents and appearing as though you are forcing topics onto their children that they may not want addressed with their children?
—Making sense of the context is key.
—Just as in other ways we think about communicating with families, we want to be open with families. Give time for that.
—Time to be explicit about goals. We operate within the context of the mission of the school. Families not always aware of the mission of the school.
—Slow process. Reflection process and thinking about allies and entrypoints is wise. The process can take a long time. In what ways can we start? Can take a long time? Not something going to jump in with!
Thank you! excellent presentation