Last week I wrote about my journey as a Southerner, as an anti-racist. It wasn’t easy to write yet I was proud to write it, especially as a Southerner. I’m also passionate about early childhood education and the intersection of these two is perfect for me! Right?
I had the pleasure of being the director of a fabulous community of learners from 1985-2004 outside of Washington, DC. We worked hard as a community, teachers and parents together, to achieve accreditation with the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC We built a state of the art outdoor classroom. It was an incredible 19 years for me working with parents and teachers to understand the three important elements of providing a quality early childhood education while offering an affordable price to parents and striving to provide worthwhile compensation to the teachers. It was not perfect for sure but we were always working toward a goal. However I think the most worthwhile work was working to instill anti-racist and anti-bias values into the school.
I began to think about writing this post with the intention of finding all of the resources that guided me in my journey while the head of a school in Northern Virginia. I remember having coffee with Louise Derman Sparks at an annual NAEYC one year. Gosh I wish I could remember the year! Just the two of us! I had my journal out with my list of questions. I left there feeling on fire and that I was the luckiest person in the world. So I googled Louise right now and BOOM. What a gold mine I found. I’m linking it here for you.
Enjoy the links! I did!
I’m addicted to podcasts while walking. I found this podcast back in December and thought about Louise. It’s important for early childhood environments to reflect diversity from crayons to baby dolls. I’ve linked you to the podcast telling this story with the episode notes.
From children’s books, to cartoons, to the worlds of fantasy and make believe, it can sometimes seem as if Black characters are on the side-lines, or don’t exist at all. Especially around the holidays, Black parents get creative to find toys for their kids that reflect just how beautiful and special they are.
More than three decades ago, Yla Eason took matters into her own hands when her Black son said that he couldn’t be a superhero because he’s not white. Trymaine Lee talks to Yla, about why she created Sun-Man, one of the first Black superhero toys in America, and the challenges she encountered along the way.
And we get some words of wisdom from Trymaine’s 8-year-old daughter, Nola, on why representation in toys matters.
Today, I am fortunate enough to be a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and train folks around the country. I love weaving my stories from my time as a leader in my community of learners and my experience in coaching in classrooms.
What are your stories regarding your journey into teaching children about anti-bias and anti-rasicm? Louise taught me well. The early years are where children learn their pre-prejudices. We have to start with ourselves first! Take a look at this video and hear Louise talk. I look forward to reading your comments.
Anti-bias lessons help preschoolers hold up a mirror to diversity
What is your Ripple?