Educators Reflect on Anti-Bias Early Childhood Education Working Group
On the morning of Saturday, June 1, members of the Anti-Bias Early Childhood Education Working Group met at the offices of Teaching for Change for the final session of the year. The working group met monthly throughout the school year to provide feedback on children’s literature, support teacher growth and development, and collectively create new curricular resources. To culminate the year together, they gathered for a final workshop focused on Teaching About Family Structures and Fairness.
The morning began with a reflective activity called “Stop and Think: Our Own and Others’ Family Structures” from Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards’ Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. The journaling prompted lots of stories from teachers’ own families and from classrooms, along with thoughts about how to lift up and celebrate different types of family structures that a child may have. Teachers were also given D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) time to browse the collection of children’s books at Teaching for Change.
Educators then broke out into smaller showcase groups to share resources and reflections on the working group. One teacher shared a story about how the Black Lives Matter Week of Action had made an impact in her classroom. A Black student commented that she hated her skin color, and before the teacher could even get involved, the other students immediately responded by telling her that her skin color was beautiful.
After reflecting in small groups, educators came back and discussed the program as a whole and what changes to make moving forward. One teacher reported that they felt that this working group had pushed them to be leaders in their school’s structure and raising awareness about anti-bias training and lesson plans among other teachers. All the attendees feel strongly that this working group should have a second cohort. Going forward, teachers want more opportunities to write about topics like race in early childhood literature and different family configurations. They want to continue meeting locally and informally as they continue to try and implement anti-bias curriculum.
At closing, one teacher reported that after participating in this working group, they didn’t feel alone anymore and appreciated the support they found in meeting up with other teachers who are passionate about social justice. The cohort celebrated the inaugural year of the working group with delicious refreshments, laughter, and excitement for the next school year.
You can apply now to join the Anti-Bias Early Childhood Education Working Group for the 2019-2020 school year.
Special thanks to Hannah Russel-Hunter, Teaching for Change’s summer intern, for authoring this article.