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Exploring Anti-Bias Curriculum

Exploring Anti-Bias Curriculum

As we approach entry into a new school year, at a time when awareness of racial disparities in society has risen to the forefront, we as early childhood educators have a responsibility to deepen our understanding of what it means to embrace Anti-Bias education and examine and refine our practices that align with this approach. As Jewish early childhood educators, we embrace the lens of Tikkun Olam/Repairing the world, and there is little doubt these days that our world is in need of repair. One way of living this value entails weaving the goals of Anti-Bias education into our thinking, our curriculum, and our actions on a daily basis. It requires a focus on inclusion, diversity, building positive identity, and activism. Louise Derman-Sparks published her 1st book on Anti-Bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children in the late ’80s and the title of her latest edition, published this year, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, emphasizes that we as educators must be on a continual reflective journey to uncover our own implicit biases and continually explore ways in which we can support children around the goals of Anti-Bias Education.  Derman-Sparks’ goals for this work have remained the same:

  1. Identity: Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social/group identities.
  2. Diversity: Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections.
  3. Justice: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness (injustice), have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
  4. Activism: Each child will demonstrate a sense of empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions

This year’s focus on ongoing learning in our community will be on Anti-Bias education and Anti-Racism.  This work is a journey and when done well in early childhood contributes to raising young citizens who will grow up to help make our world a more just and equitable place for everyone. Stay tuned for information on professional development opportunities offered through our Initiative to support you on your journey.  In the meantime, here are some excellent resources to deepen your understanding and provoke your thinking on this topic:

The Goals of Anti-Bias Education: Clearing Up Some Key Misconceptions from Childcare Exchange, a professional journal for early educators.

Moving Beyond Anti-Bias Activities: Supporting the Development of Anti-Bias Practices – Includes a framework/tool for educators to use to hold themselves accountable and keep anti-bias issues alive in the curriculum.

Understanding Anti-Bias Education: Bringing the 4 Core Goals to Every Facet of your Curriculum – I love how this article articulates a goal for educators that aligns with each goal for children and gives some classroom examples.

Anti-Bias Resources from NAEYC – access a variety of articles on the topic with a link to Deman-Sparks’s latest edition of her book.