Presentation Title

When What is Under the Surface Bubbles Up

Primary Presenter Brief Bio

I have been the director of the Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center for the past twelve years. In this position, I am responsible for policy that affects teachers, students, and families and also hold myself accountable for ensuring that our center is welcoming and respectful of all individuals. The process discussed in this proposal was definitely a learning experience and included reaching out to other more knowledgeable professionals for assistance. I do not claim to be an expert, only one who has lived through an experience that I am willing to share with others.

Type of Presentation

Regular Session

Location

Room 2905

Topic Category

Strand 4: Including All Children

Targeted Age Group

Adult Learners

Targeted Audience

Directors/Administrators

Brief Session Description

Lots of attitudes, beliefs, and opinions come into the classroom with the teachers. What do you do when under-the-surface issues of discrimination become real actions and words?

Full Session Description

We are all aware that emotional, political, and racial climates across our country are in a significant state of flux at the current time. Regardless of personal views or political stances, we are under obligation to effectively and respectfully educate the young children in our programs. So, what does as administrator do when issues of passive racism, subliminal discrimination, and homophobic attitudes are suddenly on the surface and being openly shared? I was particularly caught off guard when our center began these experiences and was completely shocked that this even needed to be addressed. Once it was seen though, there was no “unseeing” it and, as the director, I knew it was my responsibility to work toward education, reconciliation, and coordinating the trainings needed to move our staff forward.

Respecting individuals’ personal opinions and the right of individuals to hold such beliefs became challenging when they butted up against others’ personal opinions. The personal component had to be put aside so that what our center was facing could be addressed professionally, with respect for all, and with two identified outcomes. The first outcome was required—that an environment of respect and acceptance be created and maintained in our classrooms for our students and their families. The second outcome was hoped for—that the staff members whose personal beliefs, words, and actions seemed to indicate various –isms would come to a place of greater understanding and ultimately change their discrimination.

This topic is particularly relevant to early childhood education because it is imperative that the educators and individuals who work with our youngest population are able to facilitate conversations about race, gender, sexual orientation, and other categories often used to divide. It is also critical that these conversations be respectful and effective in moving children forward toward greater acceptance and understanding.

In this session, I will share about how we addressed this dis-ease, what the results have been, and where we are now.

Start Date

26-1-2019 1:15 PM

End Date

26-1-2019 2:45 PM

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Jan 26th, 1:15 PM Jan 26th, 2:45 PM

When What is Under the Surface Bubbles Up

Room 2905

Lots of attitudes, beliefs, and opinions come into the classroom with the teachers. What do you do when under-the-surface issues of discrimination become real actions and words?