Last school year my youngest daughter befriended a young boy, Jonathan in her class with Down Syndrome. A few months into the school year she and my older daughter were having regular conversation about playing with Jonathan. Throughout that stretch of time I was met by periodic questions and comments about why Jonathan. Why doesn’t Jonathan say words? Why does Jonathan have different rules than other children? Why does Jonathan have his own teacher? Many times the questions came across as rhetorical. It sounded like the came out of a conversation that the teachers had with the students. The questions were more about receiving confirmation from me, a former early childhood special educator and researcher of high-quality inclusive education. But I wasn’t confirming what other adults were telling them. Most often, I was clarifying misconceptions.
When my eldest discovered that this month is Black History Month her first question was “Is there a Brown History Month?”
My initial response was a mental, “Ummm.”Continue reading “Is There a Brown History Month?”
A few months ago I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed when I came across a post from a colleague of color. The post gave me a jolt like none other in recent memory. The article was titled Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People. One passage of the article states:Continue reading “Is Your Classroom a White Space?”
Since developing this website and speaking on behalf of it, I periodically hear variations of: “This is not as simple as you make it sound. Make me a believer and I will be totally on board.” I get it, and all the more reason for the slogan of this website: “Listen, Speak Up, Engage and Unite.” I can’t promise this blog post will make you a believer, but it should give you a better idea of how we have been working to raise socially conscious children.Continue reading “How to Raise a Socially Conscious Child”
Until today, my posts have been about experiences with my older daughter. This is the first post specifically about my younger daughter. For years she has been by our side while I talk with my older daughter, but this is the first time the conversation was just the two of us. It may have helped that her older sister was gone for the morning.Continue reading “Because There Aren’t Enough Black Fairies”
Prejudice and discrimination have been a topic of conversation for my older daughter and me for about two years. It started with the advent of wall building, carrying on through all types of topics that almost always include the words prejudice and discrimination. I’m happy to say that there is clear evidence that she has learned to incorporate these abstract concepts into her everyday routine. However, of late she has taken it a little too far for her mother to tolerate.Continue reading “Generalizing Abstract Concepts of (In)justice and (In)equity”
About a week ago, I was supervising my daughters as they played on a playground. This was a new playground for us. It was pretty typical. A ground cover of wood chips, slides, bars to climb across, walls to climb up, etc. They also had six swings, two for babies and toddlers, two traditional and, less common two adaptive swings. These swings are typically blue or red, look like an upright reclining chair, and have four chains connecting them to the cross bar; two in the front and two in the back. They are designed to support children who do not have the size, core strength or muscle tone to sit on the other swings. Also rare for playgrounds were the rubber walkway/ramps that wove through the wood chips. Each ramp lead to a piece of playground equipment. I took brief notice of these features, but I didn’t consider them something worth pointing out to the children. I was wrong.Continue reading “Why Don’t We Ever See Children With Disabilities at the Playground?”
This article was originally published at https://kristiepf.com/the-elephant-we-fail-to-see-guest-blog/. It was published with a focus on early childhood education, but the concepts apply to all level of education.
It was mid-April. The speech pathologist, occupational therapist, school psychologist, family and I, the early childhood special educator, were gathered around a large round table two feet off the ground, all sitting in child-sized chairs for Jose’s kindergarten transition meeting. It was our fifth of seven kindergarten transition meetings that spring.Continue reading “The Re-imagining IEP and IFSP Meetings”
Suspension and expulsion in education is troubling. Most troubling is the fact that, while Black boys account for less than 20% of the students enrolled in programs, they account for more than 50% of the children suspended and expelled. This is only the beginning of the issue.Continue reading “Discussing the Roots of the Suspension and Expulsion of Young Black Boys”
A few months back, after reading the book Separate is Never Equal, my daughter, Addi asked me:
“Daddy, why are the white people so rude to Sylvia’s family?”Continue reading “Stereotypes, Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination: Explaining “Normal” to a Seven Year Old”