One hope that I have with working with children and their families in the early childhood field is that I and others in this field continue to build up and support the developing identity of young children by embracing their culture and their family culture. I hope that we understand that children’s identity will be built on who they relate to in their immediate surroundings (microsystem) as well as those in the mesosystem.
One goal I have is one of social justice. My goal is to help students understand how to take care of their community by promoting clean neighborhoods and pride.
This course has been one of the most challenging for me thus far however, I want to thank all of my classmates for intriguing discussions and interesting blog posts.
You are working in an early childhood setting of your choice—a hospital, a child care center, a social service agency. You receive word that the child of a family who has recently emigrated from a country you know nothing about will join your group soon. You want to prepare yourself to welcome the child and her family. Luckily, you are enrolled in a course about diversity and have learned that in order to support families who have immigrated you need to know more than surface facts about their country of origin.
The country that my family is from is Greenland. They are from the city of Nuuk which is the country’s capital. This is a country that I know very little about. In order to prepare so that I can be culturally responsive I will:
1. I would need to learn their language or find a means to communicate.
2. I would have to learn about the family culture by interviewing the family. I would focus on their hopes of the educational setting.
3. I would also need to know some history of Greenland as well as information about their city of Nuuk.
4. I would also need know their religious culture so if modifications in activities need to be made.
5. I think it would also be helpful if I understood classification of the sexes. This may be taken care of when I learn about the family culture. However, I remember having an Indian family in our school and I only spoke to the husband no matter if the mother was there the dad ensured that we spoke to him.
Making these preparations will help build relationships and trust between me and the family. I will have them involved with getting as I work at understanding their culture and helping them understand the culture in which they live.
One example that I experienced with oppression was around our Black History program. There was so much controversy around our theme, which was Black Inventors, until many staff wanted to call it quits. The confusion began with an article from an Internet site which dispelled all black inventions was presented to some staff members. The article had no author and we could not find any information on the organization. The article caused many to be confused and question any of the inventions. They began research and found articles to support both sides. One of the teachers stated that she was so confused that she didn’t really know who she was. Through much dialogue and reliable books and articles, we were able to move forward with our program with a better understanding of the Black culture. Although the issue is not settled for some, we will continue to dialogue about this topic. The oppression was the thought of even considering to cancel our activity as a result of society demeaning the work and contributions that Blacks made to this society.
Equity was diminished since one culture (the dominant culture) validated or not validated the work of the inferior culture. The staff who introduced the article were of the dominant culture and caused the inferior culture to feel disconnected from society.
This incident saddened me greatly. There has been so much work and sweat put into tearing down these behaviors and acts that when issues like this come up, all of that work was for nothing. It made me more aware that we need to have more dialogue, book studies and opportunities to confront oppression, prejudice and bias.
In order for this situation to change, we would have to change. The staff would have to be honest about their own biases and prejudices.