Even though children are resilient in the face of many adversities, early childhood professionals can make the road a little smoother, especially for those children who face a lot of bumps, bruises, and hardships due to their race, ethnicity, culture, or religion. Tonia Durden, PhD—one of the four authors of Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms—offers 3 tips or strategies for creating high-quality, equitable, anti-biased, anti-racist, and culturally relevant education experiences.
Hello! My name is Dr. Tonia Durden, and I’m one of the authors of Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms. The other authors include the amazing Drs. Iheoma Iruka,
Stephanie Curenton, and Kerry-Ann Escayg. I do hope that you have your copy in hand and have read or plan to read a combination of our expertise and work addressing ways to create high-quality, equitable, anti-biased, anti-racist, and culturally relevant experiences for black and brown children. Oh, what a mouthful! Right?
Don’t Look Away!
A few important takeaways as you engage in your journey towards anti-biased, anti-racist classrooms include: first, don't look away! Always reflect on how you're creating spaces that are safe for children of color— that value the rich languages, experiences, ways of being, and cultural gifts and talents that they bring.
When someone walks into your classroom—if children walk into your classroom, your school building, or early learning program—do they see themselves? Do they hear their home languages? Do they see positive images of people that look like them and people from their community? Do you provide opportunities for children to express themselves culturally as well as creatively?
Embrace Anti-bias and Anti-racism in your Classroom
Second tip—embrace anti-bias and anti-racism in your classroom. Take this journey to truly understand what bias and racism in early childhood looks like, what it feels like, and the harm it does to not only children and families, but also to your own development success as an early childhood professional. Also, explore ways in which you're creating equitable and high-quality learning experiences for all children, particularly black and brown students.
Read Our Book!
Lastly, read our book! If you are now asking yourself, “But what next? But how? But when? Or say what?” then you need to grab a copy of our book Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms! Or you need to read it or reread it, as it provides very practical teaching strategies and approaches for really creating anti-biased and anti-racist classroom experiences for children.
The authors and I are so very excited about the potential you have in providing a healthy, culturally responsive, and high-quality educational experience for the students in your care.