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The Role of Early Childhood Education and Racism

youngchildrenlearning“Through our teaching of young children …we can affect the most change.”

How appropriate today with unrest (again) in Ferguson, Missouri, that we think about racism and education and what we as educators might do.

The Early Childhood Education Assembly of NCTE  has been thinking about this for some time through their Professional Dyads and Culturally Relevant Teaching project and particularly in conjunction with events like those in Ferguson and Charleston over the past year.

The assembly’s new NCTE Guideline: Statement on the Role of Early Childhood Education and Racism asks us to consider not only what we might do now as racism is visible front-page news but also what might we continue to do to educate our students to recognize the subtle and insidious racism that persists in our society.

The guideline provides us with resources that are

“a beginning, an impetus in support of educators committed to
(a) deepening understandings about institutional and interpersonal racism and its manifestations in educational settings,
(b) understanding the depth and breadth of histories often left out of or misrepresented in our teaching, and
(c) applying new awareness to transforming practice and policy.”

Most of all, the guideline urges us not to be silent.  It reminds us that we “have a clear responsibility and essential role to play in educating tomorrow’s adults so that this kind of hatred and racism is no longer a possibility.”