How do we begin to understand diversity in early childhood in order to combat biases? There are many layers of diversity within families that are important to examine. We must consider ethnic diversity first and foremost as we engage in a conversation regarding diversity, as we know (or should know) the history of people of color in the US and the challenges and adversities that we have experienced. In the context of this book, understanding diversity begins with positioning a definition that encompasses the realities of many families particularly across the US such as immigration status, gender, family structure, sexual identity, class, and spiritual beliefs. We also see the importance to talking about race within the context of early childhood.
Mari Riojas-Cortez, Ph.D. is Professor and Program Chair of Early Childhood. As an educational researcher, Dr. Riojas-Cortez examines Latino issues in early childhood including family engagement, children’s play and early childhood teacher preparation.
Preface: Mari Riojas-Cortez
Foreword: Bekisizwe Ndimande
Introduction: Mari Riojas-Cortez
Chapter 1: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers for the Importance of Seeing Color in Children: Bloom’s Taxonomy as a Guide by Kimberly Davidson, Flora Farago, and Terry Husband
Chapter 2: Addressing lgbtq+ Issues with Preservice Teachers in Conservative Spaces by Kenya E. Wolff and Janice Kroeger
Chapter 3: Ready for our Immigrant Children: Preparing Early Childhood Educators to Work with Immigrant Children and their Families by Wilma Robles-Melendez
Chapter 4: Religion in Early Childhood: Guidelines for Preservice Teachers by Ruth Vilà Baños, Montserrat Freixa Niella, Assumpta Aneas, and Angelina Sánchez Martí
About the Author and Contributors
The chapters in this book bring insights about issues that early childhood educators encounter in our increasingly diverse classrooms. Being well prepared to interact all children and their families is a moral imperative that must be addressed at the pre-service level, and this book provides readings that can help future teachers recognize the richness of diversity and its positive contribution to learning.
This book and its collection of authors provides a voice that should be amplified across all teacher-education programs in early childhood [EC]. While we still fight for the rights of our very young to explore the world on their own terms, through playful engagement with the material world, social worlds, self and other, there is so much more to be done to prepare the next generation of teachers to learn to create space for students to activate the home-hewn, problem-solving skills the young learn in the precious language of family, and then bring with them into school. For teachers to learn to not only celebrate, but utilize their students’ linguistic, religious, spiritual, cultural, and familial skills as well as the identities of their families, the journeys they’ve taken, and the differences they offer their peers as the assets of an EC classroom, will take us to new levels of care, advocacy and access for our species’ newest assets, the very young.