Rethinking Early Childhood Education
Edited by Ann Pelo
What we read:
“What Color is Beautiful?” (Alejandro Segura-Mora, 3-6)
“Why an Anti-Bias Curriculum” (Louise Derman-Sparks, 7-12)
“Developmental Themes, Tasks, and Goals in Anti-Bias Work” (Margie Carter and Deb Curtis, 13-16)
“Raising Issues of Race with Young Children” (Rita Tenorio, 17-22)
“Using Persona Dolls to Help Children Develop Anti-Bias Attitudes” (Trisha Whitney, 23-28)
“Where Are the Game Girls” (Ann Pelo, 35-40)
“Rethinking the Three Little Pigs” (Ellen Wolpert, 41-42)
“What if all the Kids are White?: Anti-Bias Themes for Teaching Young Children” (Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia Ramsey, 43-48)
“Unwrapping the Holidays: Reflections on a Difficult First Year” (Dale Weiss, 49-54)
“Testing Lang” (Amy Gutowski, 113-114)
“Welcoming Kalenna: Making Our Students Feel at Home” (Laura Linda Negri-Pool, 161-170)
“Talking the Talk: Integrating Indigenous Languages into a Head Start Classroom” (Cathis DeWeese-Parkinson, 175-176)
(We chose to read stories that were based closely on what we were learning in class so we could relate the readings to the articles we read for class)
In summary, the chapters that we read in the book were a collection of stories that taught about dealing with social justice and teaching young children. The majority of the stories we read were from Part One, which talked about anti-bias and culturally sensitive teaching and learning. The book shows us how, as early childhood educators, how to be activist for all different types of families and students in our classroom, while providing a nurturing and empathetic environment. The stories provide us an opportunity to rethink early childhood educational practices.
We overall really enjoyed the book and all of the advice and emotional stories it had to offer. We liked the fact that the book gave us difficult situations and then offered solutions to these problems. The book gave us new ideas about ways of thinking. There are so many lesson plans and ideas that the book provided to further our effectiveness in the classroom. It is full of progressive stories that engaged us to want to read more. It allowed us to critically think about subjects and the hidden bias that we may not have thought about if we didn’t read the book. The book overall improved our understanding of touchy subjects in education. We think that the book is an excellent teaching guide for new and old teachers.We were not able to finish the book, but we will continue reading the book on our own because it is a great resource.
We read “Where Are the Game Girls” by Ann Pelo. This story is about a class with four-year-olds. One of the girls in the class asked, “Why are there Game Boys, but not Game Girls?”. The teacher leads the students in a discussion/research about stereotypical girl games and boy games. The class came up with the conclusion that girls and boys can all play the same games and have the same interests. The class even wrote a letter to the Game Boy company voicing their concerns.
We thought it was really cool that the research project started with an observation and actively analyzed the question through their fellow classmates. We talked about different kinds of curriculum’s in one of our other education classes. We think this could be a learner-center curriculum. The question sparked a discussion that could be turned into a lesson and a project. The teacher is demonstrating that the students have a say in society and that they shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinion.
Question about immigration from the class
- How can we incorporate different cultures into the class so all students feel comfortable?
- How do you feel about the subject of home visits?
Media Source: The Danger of A Single Story
PLC Book Reading: What If All The Kids Are White
This story discusses the importance of having discussions about race in the classroom, despite the racial diversity within the classroom. This relates to the Tedx Talk in that Adichie states that we as a society can not look at a single individual and define them by the color of their skin. Just because two people do have a similar skin tone does not mean that they have the same beliefs, values, upbringing, family life, etc.
PLC Book Reading: Unwrapping the Holidays
This story discusses the lack of diverse holidays represented in schools, especially during the winter months. It specifically talks about a teacher’s experience in trying to change this so all kids may feel included. This relates to Adichie’s Tedx Talk in that she discusses her college roommate making assumptions about her knowledge of music, technology, and other things that she saw as “American.” Little did she know, Adichie knew quite a lot about all of these. In relation to celebrating holidays in schools, American schools primarily discuss Christmas and sometimes Hanukkah, possibly because the teachers and/or administration assumes that they are primarily American students celebrating these holidays only. It is important to discuss the fact that there are many different cultures, and with that, many different holidays that are celebrated. Just because most of your students celebrate a certain holiday, this does not mean that they should not be taught about other cultures and their customs, beliefs and holidays.
Our question would be: how do we get other teachers to join our movement of teaching various culture differences?
Why An Anti-bias Curriculum?
This reading discusses the responsibility of teachers to talk about differences between genders and races. If we ignore bias and differences increases problem. It’s there, we should discuss it to create awareness opposed to bias. Teaching children appropriate responses to bias. This reading also discusses what an inclusive education and curriculum is (p. 11).
It’s important to integrate diversity into everyday curriculum. It’s imperative that teachers include all races and cultures and respect them throughout the year instead of just visiting them (p. 11). Example: Cinco de Mayo. Interesting that it’s important to talk about bias and diversity even if the population of classroom/school isn’t very diverse (in some ways even more helpful because they will encounter diversity in the real world as they age).
Developmental Themes, Tasks, and Goals in Anti-Bias Work:
This reading is made up of charts that provide an overview of children’s understanding of gender identity, physical disability, racial differences and similarities, and cultural identity as well as anti-bias goals for children’s learning in these areas. These are all broken down into ages 2, 3, and 4-5.
We should incorporate these ideas into our curriculum when we do our curriculum project?
How do we teach these young children in a culturally diverse and accepting way that doesn’t “shrink” their identities?
Are “white people” in America a culture? YES. How do we get this point across?
Our group read the chapter Using Persona Dolls. The story was a case study of a classroom that used Kids Like Us dolls that represented some of the kids in the class. The story demonstrated the hidden bias that children have and created the opportunity to discuss those in a structured setting. While we were observing in other daycares we noticed that some of the classrooms tried to be inclusive by including pictures and dolls with differing races. We also read the chapter, Raising Issues of Race With Young Children. This chapter discussed specific ways that teachers could incorporate race into in the curriculum.
These chapters help us remove this presence of innocence and ignorance that whites have according to Bettez. Bettez said that the first step to fixing the problem and bias is admitting that there is a problem and bias, and that is what the teachers are trying to do with the Persona Dolls.
What age is appropriate to begin talking about race and other controversial topics?