Early childhood educators should be warm and loving and also have mature, healthful, positive attitudes about life, love, sex, diversity, and interpersonal relations. Remember that impressionable children pick up on the attitudes and behavior of the adults around them with amazing acuity. Good caregivers and early childhood educators are sensitive to each child’s individual, developmental, and cultural characteristics.
In addition, the more educators reflect the demographics of their students, the stronger the impact on children’s optimal development. Serving a growing and changing population and reflecting the diversity of that population requires an intentional focus on building a highly qualified, effective, and diverse early childhood workforce. An effective, consistent, diverse, and skilled workforce is a key driver of quality.
Research suggests adults who engage children in culturally responsive educational experiences help to: build young children’s self-confidence and skills; increase children’s awareness, appreciation, and inclusion of diverse beliefs and cultures; and maximize children’s academic achievement and educational success.
Researchers have found that teachers of color help close achievement gaps for students of color and are highly rated by students of ALL races. Unfortunately, although more teachers of color are being recruited across the nation, the pace of increase is slow and attrition rates are high, leaving growing gaps between the demand for such teachers and the supply.
Unfortunately, research also shows that the hiring process is biased and unfair. Unconscious racism, ageism, sexism and other forms of bias play a big role in whom we hire.
Questions to consider:
- Are we providing the positive role models our children deserve?
- Are we responding to the concerns of the families we serve?
- Are we the inclusive, diverse profession we claim to be?
- Are we actively surfacing and addressing recruiting and hiring biases that influence and hinder our wish to be as diverse and inclusive as we want to be?
Below are a number of resources for you to explore this topic further.
-Diversity Solutions Group