When working with families, caregivers should honor the opportunity to collaborate with children’s first teachers, their family members. It is important to recognize that the culture within which a child is raised inherently impacts how a child develops and grows. Parents make decisions for their children based on the cultural norms with which they are most familiar. Caregivers should respect decisions that families make without unjustly judging these decisions based on their own cultural upbringing. At the same time, efforts should be made to have open conversations with families about parenting decisions that have been shown to have negative outcomes for children, such as using spanking as a form of punishment.
It is also important that caregivers recognize and convey value for the many different types of family structures. Something as simple as changing the language used in conversation and on forms from “parents” to “family” can show respect for different family make-ups. Family make-up is another area where caregivers may have unconscious bias; perhaps viewing families headed by single mothers/fathers differently than they view families made up of the traditional 2-parent household consisting of a mother and a father.
Becoming aware of your biases will empower you to take action to address them, which will allow you to have deeper and more trusting relationships with families and children within your care. It will also position you to become an advocate for the establishment of equitable learning opportunities for all children. Whether you challenge biases as they arise within your home and workplace, or decide to act within your community, this advocacy is essential in the field of ECE.
NAEYC’s Position Statement on Advancing Equity on Early Childhood Education provides significant guidance on equitable learning opportunities for young children. The full position statement plus additional guidance can be found at https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/equity.
For the main article New NAEYC Position Statement on Equity in Early Childhood Education, CLICK HERE
For the article Recommendations for Everyone, CLICK HERE
For the article Recommendations for Early Childhood Educators; When Building a Community of Learners, CLICK HERE
For the article Recommendations for Administrators, CLICK HERE