How Bias Impacts Our Relationships with Children and Families

Article #1

How Bias Impacts Our Relationships with Children and Families

Section 2 - How Biases and Anti-Bias Efforts Show up in the Early Learning World

As we saw in the Anti-Defamation League’s Wheel of Privilege/Power before, there are various categories of power – including but not limited to: gender, age, race, wealth, language, citizenship, skin color (also known as colorism), ability, sexuality, neurodiversity, etc. Below we share examples of some of these power dynamics at play in ECE, when bias is involved: 

Cultural/Racial Bias Example: 
Dual immersion programs that do not incorporate the cultural and racial identities of families, solely focusing on dual language development of the children. 

Gender Bias Example:
Early learning programs calling mothers or other female caregivers, assuming they are more attentive and/or responsible for their child than the father or other responsible caregivers in the family.

Gender/Class Bias Example:
Low-income wages for early educators overall. Naturally this is tied to many factors, including 1) early educators getting paid less because they are seen as less educated without a degree conferred by an institution and 2) the social norm of women “naturally” having the responsibility of being caregivers for young children, so why would they get paid a reasonable wage?

Skin Color Bias Example:
Dolls and human-like toys in the play areas that only represent white or light-skinned people, European facial features, straight hair – as opposed to including dolls and toys of many skin tones, varied facial features from multiple races or ethnicities, and textured hair. White bodies and features are seen as the “default”. 

Formal Education Bias Example:
The power dynamic between families and early educators, where there is a deficit-based assumption that families are there to receive support and bring little to the table. This ignores families’ funds of knowledge, their areas of experience and/or expertise. 

Age Bias Example:
Early educators assuming a grandparent family member is less capable of caring for their grandchild or using technology because of their age. 



Ability Bias Example:
Early educators assuming a family member who has a disability does not have the capacity to attend and actively participate in a leadership committee or take on a similar role within the early learning program.


Sexual Orientation Bias Example:
Male children may feel discomfort or fear when playing dress up or participating in other types of play that are often associated with females. Homophobia and/or internalized misogyny is typically the root behind that fear and discomfort, as if they may be judged as “less” or “weak”. 

Gender Bias Example:
Our programs may use phrases like “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentleman” to refer to young children and adults. In doing so, our word choice reflects a bias that ignore the existence of trans and non-binary people and their preferred pronouns (for example: they, them). 

Wealth/Class/Formal Education Bias Example:
Family Child Care programs may be undervalued and underpaid. FCC providers may be seen as less educated and as if they have less to offer without an ECE degree, in addition to a potential bias against their program because they are not “formal institutions” like centers.

As you can see, these examples above highlight how bias can negatively affect children, families, ourselves, and our fellow early educators – all of us. Let’s dig deeper – what does the research show about how bias negatively impacts young children: (select a few data points)

Introduction

This is the first article of our new series in partnership with PEACH: “Using Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Practices to Support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for BIPOC Families in ECE.” This series focuses on creating intentional conversation spaces where early learning programs like yours can share ideas and learn how to center anti-bias and anti-racist practices in your work with staff, children and families. For more information, click here!

To be human is to have biases. As we grow up, we all adopt preferences, judgements, stereotypes, and mindsets that affect how we view the world and more specifically, how we view people and their identities.

As Dr. Ibram X. Kendi shares, these ideas surround us from birth like rain, pouring down all around us and yet we don’t know we are wet until we become aware of it. We are exposed to and learn these biases from many sources – different societies or networks we are a part of, family, the media, friends, school, etc.

As you can imagine, we carry our biases everywhere – including in our early learning programs and in our interactions with young children and their families. Let’s remember one of our core family engagement principles: we are all doing our best, given our capacity, given our reality. This leads us to Maya Angelou’s insightful quote:

“Do the best you can until you know better. 

Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou 

As educators, as humans, we are always learning! This is another area in which we can learn, explore new ideas, make mistakes, and always try again – ultimately continuing our goal of creating an early learning environment that respects and supports the diversity of our staff, young children, and their families. 

In this article, we focus on defining key anti-bias terms and understanding the effects of bias on ourselves, our children, and the families we engage with. In reflecting on these impacts, we tie in intersectionality to examine how bias affects each of us differently depending on our multiple identities. We also explore what an anti-bias approach looks like and specific strategies that our early learning programs can use. 

Section 1 - Key Terms & Impact: Vocabulary to Support Anti-Bias Conversations

In order for our learning to begin, it is important for us to have a baseline and ensure that we are communicating in the same language. This is new territory for many of us so we want to start with definitions of important key terms and real world examples related to bias and anti-bias:

Nowadays we often hear comments about the value in knowing these terms and how they show up in our real world. On the other hand, we also hear folks complain about how sensitive or “politically-correct” they have to be in expressing or behaving themselves, as many of these situations like those shared above seem trivial or minor compared to more unmistakable acts of violence and hatred. 

Yet, we may be unaware (or need a reminder) about the cumulative effects of these types of actions. Consider the Anti-Defamation League’s Pyramid of Hate – this diagram shown below helps us more clearly understand how our biases and “smaller actions” are the seeds or first steps of more dangerous, violent, and widespread behavior.

As we can see in the diagram above, these biased attitudes lay the groundwork for more insidious actions that promote hate, discrimination, and violence. 

Note: Violence is not just physical – it is also emotional, verbal, economic, geographic, psychological, spiritual, sexual, and neglect. 

Section 3 - Reflecting & Preparing for Anti-Bias Efforts: Doing the Inner Work as Early Educators

We are each on our own anti-bias journey as early educators, each realizing our biases while also learning new ways to be more fair and equitable towards the young children and families we work with. 

Examining ourselves is not only about unlearning past biases and beliefs caused by systems of oppression and learning new ways to be more fair and equitable towards others – it is also about healing ourselves. It is about exercising self-compassion, grace, and slowing down to build our capacity to address fears and anxieties that lead us to continue inequitable practices with ourselves, our colleagues, the young children, and families we work with. 

This type of internal change can help not only transform our perspectives, but gradually become more aware of our reactions around certain topics, behaviors, and groups of people. From there, we can recognize what actions we typically take to “protect” ourselves from facing our biases and what thoughts or emotions show up within us that stem from ingrained prejudice. 

Anti-bias education provides us with strategies and principles to bring into our early learning programs, but it also shares key reflective questions that can guide our inner work, our process of self analysis and what biases or prejudices we may have. As shared by Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, consider these reflective questions below, all tied to the 4 goals of anti-bias education: 

  1. To what degree, or in what ways, do I nurture the construction of a knowledgeable, confident self-identity and group identity in myself?
  2. How do I promote my own comfortable, empathetic interactions with people from diverse backgrounds?
  3. In what ways do I foster my critical thinking about bias?
  4. Under what circumstances do I cultivate my ability to stand up for myself and for others in the face of bias?
  5. What are the challenges to achieving these goals in my life?
  6. What might be ways for me to develop each of these goals in my personal life? In my work?

Why is deep inner work important? 

We bring to you another new term: performative activism (also known as optical allyship) – which is harmful, shallow, and doesn’t create longer lasting change. Performative activism is the visual illusion of allyship without the actual work of allyship. For instance, in the United States we offer parades, put up “diversity” posters, offer commemorative days off, launch social media campaigns, etc. 

These examples highlight how celebrating diversity only does so much and is often focused on virtue-signaling, showing our audience how “great” and “aware” we are. While everyone may feel good in seeing these actions, how much change is actually happening? How much of this is actually for appearances?

Inner work is challenging and almost always self-guided and self-selected. It is a journey, not a destination. There are rarely clear, cut-and-dry solutions and answers to most of these previously mentioned issues. Just as racism, sexism, and many other systems of oppression have existed for centuries, this change for the better will not be quick. And so we can better prepare ourselves by framing our mindsets to be aware that our efforts plant a seed for long-term change, by being willing to accept a lack of closure. 

What can I do to begin or continue my inner work as an early educator? What are some initial resources I can use?

Personal efforts as an individual:

  • Read, watch, and listen to books and media around anti-bias topics to become aware of your own biases and use them for further reflection, including: 

Professional efforts as an individual: 

  • Attend trainings, webinars, and more around these topics of anti-bias and equity, including: 
  • Take pause and reflect during difficult moments or conversations involving bias and identity(ies) in your work. What are those moments signaling to you?

There is an indisputable value and difficulty in doing the inner work, especially as 1) no one really holds you accountable, 2) it is uncomfortable, 3) there’s no clear path, and 4) it can create “controversial” change with people in your life (in and out of work). Let’s be real – what is right is not always what is easy. Yet, this inner work and the positive long term effects it will reap will affect how you show up in your role as an early educator. Your effort will be a “seed” in your early learning program. On that note, head on to section 4 for actionable strategies to implement in your early learning program! 

Section 4 - Planting the Seed: Beginning Anti-Bias Practices for Our Early Learning Programs

As we shared earlier in this post, Anti-Bias Education is an approach to teaching and learning that includes self-identity, self-reflection, and actively, intentionally disrupting bias in all areas of the early childhood program. In this section we offer some practices and strategies to help foster an anti-bias environment in your early learning program. 

Read through the following sections for key ideas and practices, accompanied by targeted resources to support your program’s learning and change-making! 

Program Policies & Procedures

Module 4: Implicit Bias & Microaggressions 

Module 5: Systems of Inequality

Interactions & Programming with Families 

Diverse cultures, languages, abilities, and families are supported and welcome in every aspect of an anti-bias program. This is evident in: 

  • Family-school communication: Communications are accessible in print and online, available in the languages that families speak, use visuals that are representative of families, and use terms to identify families inclusively.

Work with your program staff to identify anti-bias strategies that your early learning program can use to support families. 

    • Consider incorporating focused strategies in working with Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian, and additional families of color. 

Classroom Environments & Interactions 

Conclusion

Our work in early childhood education always comes back to the core goal of supporting children’s wellbeing and positive development. By incorporating anti-bias education and extending these ideas to our family engagement practices, we can create more equitable and respectful relationships with families. We invite you to consider that this work is fundamental and essential to the positive development of young children and their families. Every small step we take in learning about these equitable ideas and unlearning the harmful systems of oppression helps create a better world for ourselves, young children, and the families we partner with.  

It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile. Let’s take inspiration from Maya Angelou’s words, and remember, “When we know better – we can do better.”


PEACH-QSLA Project

Usando prácticas contra prejuicio y antirracismo para apoyar la diversidad, la equidad, la inclusión y la pertenencia de las familias negras, indígenas, y personas de color en educación temprana

Descripción del video: los presentadores hablan sobre las próximas series sobre la lucha contra los prejuicios, el racismo y más.

El Grupo de PEACH de Trabajo sobre Equidad y Antirracismo y QSLA se han asociado para lanzar esta nueva serie “Usando prácticas de contra prejuicio y antirracismo para apoyar la diversidad, la equidad, la inclusión y la pertenencia de las familias negras, indígenas, y personas de color en educación temprana.” La serie, que se ofrecerá de agosto del 2022 a mayo del 2023, se centrará en la creación de espacios de conversación intencionales con sus programas de aprendizaje temprana para centrar mejor las prácticas contra prejuicios y antirracismo en su trabajo con los/as niños/as y las familias, particularmente en apoyo de las familias de color marginadas.

A medida que nuestra sociedad lidia con el racismo, la diversidad, la equidad, la inclusión, la pertenencia y la violencia que esto a menudo genera, nos encontramos en un punto crucial. Colabore con nosotros para juntos desarrollar el conocimiento y la experiencia necesarios para apoyar a los/as niños/as y las familias de color en nuestros programas con equidad y justicia de prioridad. 

¿Cómo estamos abordando esto?

  • Publicando 4 artículos clave centrados en estos temas que brindan consejos basados en investigaciones y buenas prácticas que puede utilizar para respaldar la implementación de prácticas antirracistas y contra prejuicios en su programa de aprendizaje temprana.
  • Ofreciendo 4 seminarios web que traen estos temas a la mesa, donde puede obtener nuevos conocimientos de contenido y discutir a través de actividades interactivas que respaldan su comprensión y reflexiones sobre los nuevos conocimientos compartidos.
  • Facilitando 2 comunidades de práctica donde sus colegas de primera infancia, QSLA y usted tendrán la oportunidad de discutir éxitos, desafíos, buenas prácticas y compartir reflexiones.

Le animamos a asistir a las sesiones para las que tenga capacidad, ya que no hay requisitos para asistir a 1 antes que a los demás. ¡Esperamos compartir conversaciones enriquecedoras con usted en estos seminarios web y en comunidades de práctica!

¡Le invitamos a compartir su voz! ¿Qué experiencias y prácticas tiene para los esfuerzos contra prejuicios y el racismo en su trabajo con familias? ¿Qué preguntas, ideas y/o inquietudes desea escuchar y hablar durante esta serie? ¡Haga clic aquí para compartir sus pensamientos en esta encuesta breve de 5 preguntas!

¡Haga clic en los botones a continuación para explorar los seminarios web, las comunidades de práctica y los artículos que ofrece esta serie! ¡Recuerde volver a consultar durante todo el año para ver el contenido nuevo!

¡Haga clic en este folleto a continuación para obtener una descripción general rápida de la serie! ¡Comparta este folleto con sus compañeros/as educadores/as de la primera infancia y el personal del programa!

Conozca a las presentadoras

¡Haga clic en los videos a continuación para conocer a las profesionales de la educación infantil temprana que verá, conversará y con quienes se conectará a lo largo de este proyecto de un año!

Alma Cortez
Associate Professor
Child Development Department, Pierce College

Cindy Stephens
Professor of Early Childhood Education, College of the Canyons

Deborah Owens
Department Chair
Child Development & Education Dept., Glendale Community College

La Tanga Hardy
Director
Child Development Center, LA Trade Technical College

Dr. Michelle DeJohnette
Ph.D./Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Studies at Cal Poly Pomona

Toni Isaacs
Program Director of PEACH
Faculty at Moorpark College, Child Development & Education Department

Nancy Hurlbut 
Associate Dean, 
Cal Poly Pomona

Elmida Baghdaserians, Ed.D.
Professor,
Child Development,
Los Angeles Valley College

¡Regístrese para un seminario web!

Cómo los prejuicios afectan nuestras relaciones con los/as niños/as y las familias

Día y hora: Martes, 20 de septiembre, 6:00 – 8:00PM

Presentadoras: Cindy Stephens, Elmida Baghdaserians, Michelle DeJohnette

Pintura para 3 niños, curso de inglés con 2 horas de crédito

¡Estamos lanzando nuestra nueva serie sobre antirracismo y contra prejuicio con nuestro primer seminario web “Cómo los prejuicios afectan nuestras relaciones con los/as niños/as y las familias“! ¿Qué es prejuicio? ¿Qué significa para mí y mi rol en aprendizaje temprana? Acompañe QSLA y nuestras socias de PEACH para este primer seminario web sobre prejuicio, contra prejuicios, y cómo estos conceptos nos afectan a nosotros y a nuestro trabajo en aprendizaje temprana. Discutiremos qué enfoques y estrategias contra prejuicio pueden ayudarnos a crear espacios de aprendizaje temprana que sean más equitativos e inclusivos para el personal y las familias de color.

¿Qué puede esperar aprender y hacer en este seminario web?

  • Definir y discutir el impacto del prejuicio, particularmente el prejuicio implícito y explícito en los programas de aprendizaje temprana (en nuestro personal, niños/as, y familias)
  • Explicar el concepto y las aplicaciones contra prejuicio en entornos de aprendizaje temprana
  • Identifique estrategias en contra prejuicio que sus programas de aprendizaje temprana puedan usar para apoyar a las familias

Definir y discutir la interseccionalidad, haciendo conexiones con experiencias de vida y resaltando el impacto de las varias identidades que podemos tener.

Comprender cómo la ceguera al color de piel es realmente evasión del color de piel

Día y hora: Jueves, 3 de noviembre, 6:00 – 8:ooPM

Presentadoras: Alma Cortes, La Tanga Hardy

¿Tiene dificultades con las conversaciones sobre el tono de piel y la ceguera al colorismo en su programa de aprendizaje temprana? En este seminario web constructivo sobre la ceguera al colorismo y la evasión del colorismo, aprenderemos, examinaremos y discutiremos cómo estos asuntos nos afectan a nosotros, a nuestros programas y a las familias con las que trabajamos, – ¡y qué podemos hacer al respecto!

Antirracismo

Día y hora: Febrero del 2023, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presentadoras: Cindy Stephens, Deborah Owens

¡Inscripciones próximamente!

Todos estamos familiarizados con la palabra racismo hasta cierto punto. ¿Y qué del antirracismo? En este tercer seminario web, aprenderemos sobre el racismo y el antirracismo, desde los aspectos implícitos y subconscientes hasta cómo ser educadores/as antirracistas, para nosotros, nuestros programas y las familias con las que colaboramos.

Suspensiones y expulsiones en educación de la primera infancia

Día y hora: Abril del 2023, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presentadoras: La Tanga Hardy, Michelle DeJohnette, Toni Isaacs

¡Inscripciones próximamente!

¿Sabía que los/as niños/as negros/as, nativos/as americanos/as y latinos/as tienen más probabilidades de ser suspendidos y expulsados en los programas de educación de la primera infancia? Este cuarto seminario web, reunimos las piezas del rompecabezas: los datos sobre los efectos dañinos del racismo y el prejuicio en la disciplina excluyente para niños/as de color en educación de la primera infancia, las raíces de estas prácticas injustas y qué esfuerzos y estrategias puede utilizar su programa de aprendizaje temprana.

¡Regístrese en las comunidades de práctica!

Comunidad de práctica #1
Día y hora: Jueves, 3 de noviembre, 6:00 – 7:00PM

Facilitadores/as: Cindy Stephens, Nancy Hurlbut, and Toni Isaacs

¡Inscripciones próximamente!

Three women sitting side by side and smiling

¡Reunámonos y hablemos! En esta primera Comunidad de práctica, compartiremos lo que hemos aprendido de estos seminarios web anteriores sobre esfuerzos contra prejuicio y ceguera al colorismo, de nuestras propias reflexiones y de traer estas ideas a nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana. Si necesita apoyo, claridad e inspiración sobre estos temas, ¡conéctese con sus compañeros/as educadores/as y QSLA en estas conversaciones enriquecedoras!

Comunidad de práctica #2
Día y hora: Mayo del 20236:00pm – 7:00pm

Facilitadores/as: Cindy Stephens, La Tanga Hardy, and Toni Isaacs

¡Inscripciones próximamente!

Three women meeting

¡Reunámonos y hablemos! En esta segunda Comunidad de práctica, compartiremos lo que hemos aprendido de estos seminarios web anteriores sobre antirracismo y suspensiones & expulsiones en ECE, de nuestras propias reflexiones y de traer estas ideas a nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana. Si necesita apoyo, claridad e inspiración sobre estos temas, ¡conéctese con sus compañeros/as educadores/as y QSLA en estas conversaciones enriquecedoras!


PEACH-QSLA Project

Using Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Practices to Support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for BIPOC Families in ECE

Video Description: Presenters speak about upcoming series on anti-bias, anti-racism, etc.

PEACH‘s Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group and QSLA have partnered to launch this new series “Using Anti-Bias & Anti-Racist Practices to Support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for BIPOC* Families in ECE“. The series, running from August 2022 – May 2023, will focus on creating conversation spaces with your early learning programs to better center anti-bias and anti-racist practices in your work with children and families, particularly in support of marginalized families of color.

As our society grapples with racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and the violence this often generates, we find ourselves at a pivotal point. Partner with us to co-develop the knowledge and expertise needed to support children and families of color in our programs with equity and justice at the forefront.

How are we approaching this? 

  • Publishing 4 key articles focused on these topics that provide research-informed tips and best practices that you can use to support the implementation of anti-biased and anti-racist practices in your early learning program.
  • Offering 4 webinars that address these topics through engaging content, discussions, and interactive activities that support your professional and personal growth.
  • Hosting 2 Communities of Practice where you will have a chance to discuss successes, challenges, best practices, and share reflections with other early educators tackling these same important topics. 

All sessions are individual and there is no requirement to attend them in any order. We look forward to sharing enriching conversations with you in these engaging webinars and Communities of Practice!

*BIPOC is an acronym which stands for Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

We invite you to share your voice! What experiences and practices do you have around anti-bias and anti-racist efforts with families? What questions, ideas, and/or concerns do you want to hear and discuss during this series? Click here to share your thoughts in this quick 5-question survey!

Click on the buttons below to explore the Webinars, Communities of Practice, and Articles this series offers! Remember to check back throughout the year for new content!

Click on this flyer below for a quick overview of the series! Share this flyer with your fellow early educators and program staff!

Meet the Presenters

Click on the videos below to e-meet the Early Childhood Education professionals that you will be seeing, conversing with, and connecting to throughout this year-long project!

Alma Cortez
Associate Professor
Child Development Department, Pierce College

Cindy Stephens
Professor of Early Childhood Education, College of the Canyons

Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator,
Quality Start Los Angeles

Deborah Owens
Department Chair
Child Development & Education Dept., Glendale Community College

Dr. Michelle DeJohnette
Ph.D./Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Studies at Cal Poly Pomona

Toni Isaacs
Program Director of PEACH
Faculty at Moorpark College, Child Development & Education Department

La Tanga Hardy
Director
Child Development Center, LA Trade Technical College

Nancy Hurlbut 
Associate Dean, 
Cal Poly Pomona

Elmida Baghdaserians, Ed.D.
Professor,
Child Development,
Los Angeles Valley College

Sign Up for a Webinar!

How Bias Impacts Our Relationships with Children and Families

Tuesday, September 13th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Presenters: Cindy Stephens, Elmida Baghdaserians, Michelle DeJohnette

3 Children Painting, English Course with 2 Hours of Credit

We’re kicking off our new Anti-Bias & Anti-Racism series with our first webinar “How Bias Impacts Our Relationships with Children and Families”! What is bias? What does it mean for me and my role in ECE? Join QSLA and our PEACH partners for this first webinar on bias, anti-bias and how these concepts affect us and our work in ECE. We will discuss what anti-bias approaches and strategies can help us create early learning spaces that are more equitable and inclusive for staff and families of color. 

What can you expect to learn and do in this webinar? 

  • Define and discuss the impact of bias, particularly implicit and explicit bias in early learning programs (on our staff, children, and families) 
  • Explain the concept and applications of an anti-bias approach in early learning settings and family engagement
  • Identify anti-bias strategies that your early learning programs can use to support families 
  • Define and discuss intersectionality, particularly the drawing on lived experiences and highlighting the impact of overlapping identities

Understanding How Color Blindness is Really Color-Evasiveness

Wednesday, November 2, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presenters: Alma Cortes, La Tanga Hardy

Do you struggle with conversations around skin tone and color blindness in your early learning program? In this constructive webinar on color blindness and color evasiveness, we will learn, examine, and discuss how these matters affect us, our programs, and the families we work with – and what we can do about it!

Anti-Racism

February 2023, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presenters: Cindy Stephens, Deborah Owens

Enrollment Coming Soon!

We are all familiar with the word racism to some extent. What about anti-racism? In this third webinar, we’ll learn about racism & anti-racism, from the implicit and subconscious aspects to how to be anti-racist educators – for ourselves, our programs, and the families we partner with.

Suspensions & Expulsions in Early Childhood Education (ECE)

April 2023, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presenters: La Tanga Hardy, Michelle DeJohnette, Toni Isaacs

Enrollment Coming Soon!

Did you know Black, Native American, and Latinx children are more likely to be suspended and expelled in ECE programs? This fourth webinar puts together the puzzle pieces: the data on the harmful effects of racism and bias on exclusionary discipline for children of color in ECE, the roots of these inequitable practices and what efforts and strategies your early learning program can use.

Sign Up for Communities of Practice!

Community of Practice #1
Tuesday, December 6, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Facilitators: Cindy Stephens, Nancy Hurlbut, and Toni Isaacs

Enrollment Coming Soon!

Three women sitting side by side and smiling

Let’s come together and discuss! In this first Community of Practice, we will share what we have learned from these past Anti-Bias and Color Blindness webinars, from our own reflections, and from bringing these ideas to our early learning programs. If you need support, clarity, and inspiration around these topics, come connect with your fellow early educators and QSLA in these enriching conversations!

Community of Practice #2
May 2023, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Facilitators: Cindy Stephens, La Tanga Hardy, and Toni Isaacs

Enrollment Coming Soon!

Three women meeting

Let’s come together and discuss! In this second Community of Practice, we will share what we have learned from these past Anti-Racism and Suspensions & Expulsions in ECE webinars, from our own reflections, and from bringing these ideas to our early learning programs. If you need support, clarity, and inspiration around these topics, come connect with your fellow early educators and QSLA in these enriching conversations!


Acogiendo padres y cuidadores masculinos en espacios de aprendizaje

This page is also available in: English

¿Sabía que un niño o niña con un padre involucrado tiene más probabilidades de tener un mejor desempeño en su educación?  ¡Los estudios muestran que su presencia puede conducir a un aumento de casi 1/2 año de aprendizaje académico sobre los niños/las niñas con padres menos involucrados!  A medida que nuestra cultura cambia de perspectiva y reconoce mejor el valor de la presencia y la participación de los padres en la crianza de los hijos/las hijas y las responsabilidades domésticas, nos encontramos en un punto crucial. ¿Cómo pueden nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana conectarse mejor con los padres y cuidadores masculinos relacionados? ¿Qué significa su presencia y participación para nuestros niños/as y programas de aprendizaje temprana 

Este mes, nuestro consejo de compromiso familiar se centra en cómo nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana pueden dar la bienvenida, valorar y trabajar intencionalmente con los padres y cuidadores masculinos. Discutimos específicamente la importancia de los padres y cuidadores masculinos en el aprendizaje y desarrollo infantil, qué desafíos existen y qué acciones podemos tomar para apoyar mejor su compromiso.  

El impacto de los padres y cuidadores masculinos en el aprendizaje temprana

¿Por qué es exactamente importante que los padres participen durante los primeros años de la vida de un/a niño/a 

Los estudios han demostrado que los padres desempeñan un papel importante en el aprendizaje temprana de sus hijos/as, particularmente al establecer ejemplos de masculinidad positiva, modelar un comportamiento socioemocional saludable, y proporcionar dirección y comfort.  

Según el artículo de Edweek,Papás moldean la educación de sus hijos de más de las que usted sabe, según los estudios,” los estudios muestran que la presencia constante de un padre es especialmente importante en los primeros años de la vida de un/a niño/a, específicamente porque los padres tienen más impacto en con los/as más pequeños/as que en los/as adolescentes. Su presencia es más fundamental durante estos años, ya que sienta las bases para el desarrollo positivo del/la niño/a   

Aquí compartimos algunas estadísticas más sobre los/as niños/as que crecen con padres involucrados: 

  • 39% más probabilidades de ganar principalmente “A’s” en la escuela 
  • 45% menos probabilidades de repetir un grado  
  • 60% menos probabilidades de ser suspendido o expulsado de la escuela  
  • 2 veces más probabilidades de ir a la universidad y encontrar un empleo estable después de la escuela secundaria 
  • 75% menos probabilidades de tener un parto en adolescencia   
  • 80% menos probabilidades de pasar tiempo en la cárcel 

¿Qué tal en los primeros años?  ¡Eche un vistazo a este gráfico a continuación para obtener más información sobre los efectos positivos de la participación de un padre en la educación temprana de sus hijos/as! 

El mundo del aprendizaje temprana: desafíos existentes para involucrar a los padres y cuidadores masculinos con programas de aprendizaje temprana  

En estos días, escuchamos más sobre padres que se disfrazan y toman té con sus hijas o aprenden a peinar, tíos recién acuñados que se regocijan y toman un papel activo en la educación de su sobrina/o, abuelos que tranquilizan a su nieto/a cuando lloran durante una situación difícil, y más hombres generalmente guían a los/as niños/as a través de la vida como modelos masculinos positivos. A medida que los hombres desempeñan un papel cada vez más importante en la vida cotidiana del hogar o como cuidadores principales, sus realidades y nuestras expectativas también deben ajustarse.  

Mientras nuestro mundo experimenta más cambios culturales en torno a la paternidad y lo que puede ser un modelo masculino saludable, se necesita algo de trabajo para actualizar y actualizar nuestro pensamiento. Al hacer esto, nuestros pensamientos y creencias se mostrarán en nuestras acciones y apoyarán cuán positiva o cálidamente damos la bienvenida a un padre, su familia y su dinámica de cuidado única.  

¡Aquí compartimos puntos de vista limitantes comunes de los padres y la crianza de los/as hijos/as lado a lado con las mentalidades actuales basadas en las fortalezas que nosotros y nuestros compañeros/as educadores/as podemos recoger 

Perspectiva tradicional

Mentalidad basada en fortalezas 

Las responsabilidades de crianza de los/as hijos/as de los padres a menudo se consideran menos difíciles e involucradas que las de las madres, como si no fueran igualmente responsables o igualmente capaces de cuidar a sus propios/as hijos/as. En algunos casos, se implica que supervisan a sus hijos/as “en ocasiones” o “a veces” en comparación con la visión cultural de las madres que generalmente a menudo supervisan a sus hijos/as Podemos comenzar asumiendo que los padres están haciendo todo lo posible y tienen conocimiento y habilidades existentes en torno a la crianza de los hijos/as. 

Considere estas situaciones, ya que a menudo reflejan nuestra inclinación hacia la comunicación con las madres/cuidadoras femeninas sin incluir también a los padres/cuidadores masculinos:  

¿Con qué padre o tutor se comunica nuestro programa cuando un/a niño/a tiene una emergencia?  

– ¿A quién se dirige en los mensajes, boletines, papeleo enviado a casa?  

Cuando se trata de decisiones importantes en torno a la trayectoria educativa de un/a niño/a, ¿ambos padres/todos los tutores involucrados están informados de la decisión?  

Nuestras palabras y acciones, por rutinarias que sean, en estas situaciones pueden comunicar involuntariamente que asumimos que los padres no están tan activamente involucrados en el bienestar y desarrollo de sus hijos/as como las madres. También podemos suponer incorrectamente que los tutores identificados, como tíos o abuelos, tienen roles más pequeños en la educación del/la niño/a pequeño/a de lo que es el caso.  

Cómo los programas de aprendizaje temprana pueden apoyar las relaciones padre-hijo/a

Con estas reflexiones e ideas clave en nuestros bolsillos, ahora podemos pasar a cómo podrían verse en acción. Explore estas siguientes dos secciones para obtener inspiración que pueda transformar la cultura y las prácticas de participación del padre de su programa.  

  • Regrese a nuestras suposiciones básicas de compromiso familiar:
    1) Todas las familias tienen fortalezas,
    2) Todas las familias están haciendo todo lo posible, dada su capacidad y realidad, y
    3) Todas las familias traen algo a la mesa.
    Es nuestro papel conocer a las familias donde están y verlas tan plenamente como podamos, reconociendo sus realidades, dones, conocimientos, experiencia y sueños.  
  • Reconozca que muchas familias han vivido por muchos retos y traumas.  Desde los roles de género típicos que discutimos anteriormente hasta el trauma histórico y racial que las familias de grupos marginados han experimentado, la pobreza, el encarcelamiento, los problemas de salud mental y física, etc., muchas, si no la mayoría, las familias experimentan muchos desafíos que a su vez afectan su ancho de banda para aparecer en nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana de manera típica.    
  • Es nuestra responsabilidad reflexionar y desafiar nuestras ideas preconcebidas o prejuicios sobre los padres, la paternidad y las expectativas de los cuidadores masculinos.  Además de las ideas compartidas en la última sección, analiza las diferencias culturales en los roles de cuidado y las dinámicas familiares únicas (como padres solteros, padres del mismo sexo, padrastros, padres que se quedan en casa). Al igual que con cualquier familia, podemos apoyarlos mejor construyendo relaciones sólidas, conociéndolos y conociendo sus sueños, necesidades, fortalezas, etc.  
  • Reconocer las diferencias culturales en los estilos de crianza de los padres puede variar de raza, etnia y país. Diferente no es deficiente; los estilos de crianza tradicionales y estrictos como el machismo surgieron en otras generaciones y otros países por necesidad, para apoyar la supervivencia y la resistencia de una familia. De nuevo, estos son casos en los que las familias y nuestros antepasados están haciendo todo lo posible.  
  • Celebre los esfuerzos de todos los cuidadores por igual. Como hablamos anteriormente, hay momentos en que los padres/cuidadores masculinos son muy elogiados por manejar la responsabilidad de los padres que las madres/cuidadoras femeninas ya suelen hacer. Hagamos todo lo posible para ser justos.  
  • Infórmese sobre la dinámica única de cada familia.  Esto comienza con el aprendizaje sobre cada familia y quién compone su unidad familiar (padrastros/as, familia adoptiva, padres adoptivos, amigos cercanos, etc.), cómo son sus prácticas de cuidado (quién lleva y recoge, con quién pasa tiempo el niño/a, cómo son los horarios de los/as miembros/as de la familia, etc.).  
  • Verifique con las familias y haga un esfuerzo adicional para garantizar que los padres/cuidadores responsables sean parte de la conversación sobre el bienestar de sus hijos/as y el viaje de aprendizaje temprana Considere las prácticas específicas de  
    1) llamar a cada padre/tutor al programar conferencias de familia y maestro/a,  
    2) notificar al menos a 2 cuidadores cuando un/a niño/a está enfermo o lesionado (si es que es posible),  
    3) ajustar el papeleo para brindar a las familias las oportunidades de que más de 1 tutor firme las decisiones que afectan a su hijo/a 
  • Incorpore oportunidades para reconocer las fortalezas de un padre/cuidador masculino en los procesos de su programa como entrevistas de entrada, un día de celebración de padre/cuidador masculino, actividades de boletines, juntas familiares, conferencias de familia y maestros/as, etc.  
  • Haga un esfuerzo constante para conectarse con los padres y cuidadores masculinos en sus interacciones diarias. ¿Cómo puede ser esto? Por ejemplo: preguntar a los/as niños/as y padres/cuidadores masculinos sobre su tiempo compartido, lo que disfrutan hacer juntos y cómo fueron sus fines de semana/noche/mañana/vacaciones. 
  • Incluya imágenes de padres/cuidadores masculinos y niños/as en el entorno de su programa, tanto en persona como digital. Piense en las paredes de su programa, el sitio web de su programa, en el aula, en folletos, correos electrónicos y, por supuesto, muñecas/juguetes que representan figuras masculinas de diferentes tonos de piel y características faciales/físicas.  
  • Crea documentos de comunicación específico específicamente para padres y cuidadores masculinos. Llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos, boletines, folletos, anuncios en redes sociales, etc.; elija lo que le sirve. Especialmente considere invitarlos personalmente: ¡este esfuerzo adicional puede marcar la diferencia! 
  • Cree eventos personalizados para padres y cuidadores masculinos. Estos eventos dirigidos a padres y cuidadores masculinos son fundamentales, ya que ofrecen espacios más cómodos para su participación, lo que puede permitirles abrirse más, apoyarse mutuamente, ser voluntarios y conectarse con los/as niños/as, ofrecer sus fortalezas y voz en apoyo de nuestros programas, etc. Unos eventos potenciales incluyen: 
    • Eventos mensuales de “Pan dulce con papás,” “Meriendas con abuelos“: estos pueden ser grupos de apoyo, espacios de conversación con el personal del programa, etc.  
    • Eventos de padre/cuidador masculino e hijo/a: para jugar, apoyar la alfabetización temprana, fortalecer los hábitos matemáticos tempranos, apoyar el aprendizaje socioemocional, etc. ¡Echa un vistazo a las actividades que Sesame Street in Communities ofrece en su página de Recursos para Papás para inspirarle! 
  • Adapte nuestros mensajes, recursos y actividades para diferentes estructuras familiares. Considere a los padrastros, abuelos, tíos, etc., ¿cómo pueden nuestras ofrendas incluirlos mejor?  
  • Empodere a los padres y cuidadores masculinos para que asuman roles de liderazgo en su programa. Ya sea que tenga un programa de cuidado familiar y infantil o un programa basado en el centro, ¡esta puede ser una estrategia bastante efectiva y se adapta bien! Aquí hay algunas ideas iniciales: 
    • Pregunte sobre su conocimiento de los recursos y servicios locales y si pueden servir como enlaces con su programa, anímelos a ofrecer una actividad para niños/as que se centre en sus fortalezas/pasatiempos (como un tiempo de lectura en voz alta, música, experimentos STEM, construcción de manualidades de bricolaje), invítelos a unirse a los Consejos Asesores de Padres u otros comités de liderazgo (escuela, distrito, etc.). 

Naturalmente, considere la capacidad de sus programas y la dinámica familiar única. Sobre todo, si podemos centrar las voces de los padres/cuidadores masculinos y sus familias, sin importar cuán pequeños o grandes sean nuestros esfuerzos, entonces nuestra relación hogar-escuela florecerá.  

Cuando los/as niños/as tienen una relación fuerte, constante, de apoyo y amorosa con una figura paterna responsable, crecen para ser humanos sanos, bien adaptados y resistentes. Nuestros programas de aprendizaje temprana se encuentran en una posición fundamental para apoyar las relaciones padre-hijo/a y reforzar las interacciones con modelos masculinos positivos, particularmente en estos valiosos primeros años de la vida de un/a niño/a. Como Frederick Douglass compartió: “Es más fácil construir niños/as fuertes que reparar hombres rotos.” 

Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 7 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. In conjunction with Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.


Embracing Fathers & Male Caregivers in Early Learning Spaces

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June 27th, 2022, 4:39pm

Did you know that a child with an involved father or father-figure is more likely to do better in their education? Studies show their presence can lead to an increase of nearly ½ a year of academic learning over children with less involved fathers! As our culture shifts perspectives and better recognizes the value of fathers’ presence and involvement in child-rearing and household responsibilities, we find ourselves at a pivotal point. How can our early learning programs embrace fathers and male caregivers? How can their presence and involvement strengthen our early learning programs?

This month, our Family Engagement tip focuses on how our early learning programs can intentionally welcome, value, and work with fathers and male caregivers. We specifically discuss the importance of fathers & male caregivers in early learning & development, what challenges exist, and what approaches we can take to better support their engagement.  

The Impact of Fathers & Male Caregivers in Early Learning

Why is it important for fathers to be involved during the early years of a child’s life?  

Studies have shown fathers play important roles in their child’s early learning, particularly by setting examples of positive masculinity, modeling healthy social emotional behavior, and providing mentorship and comfort.  

According to Edweek’s article,Dad’s Shape Their Kids’ Education in More Ways Than You Know, Research Says, studies show that a father’s consistent presence is notably important in the early years of a child’s life. Their presence is more pivotal during these years as it creates a foundation for the child’s positive development.  

Here we share a few more statistics regarding children who grow up with involved fathers/father figures: 

  • 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school 
  • 45% less likely to repeat a grade  
  • 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school  
  • 2x as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school 
  • 75% less likely to have a teen birth  
  • 80% less likely to spend time in jail  

How about in the early years? Check out the graphic below to learn more about the positive effects of a father’s involvement on their child’s early education! 

The Early Learning World: Existing Challenges to Engaging Fathers and Male Caregivers in Early Learning Programs 

Positive male role models are seen in a variety of different roles and settings.  Fathers dress up and have teatime with their daughters, uncles rejoice and take an active role in their nephew’s upbringing, grandfathers reassure their grandchild when they cry during a difficult situation, and more men generally who help guide children through life as positive male role models.  As men play increasingly greater roles in daily home life or as the primary caregiver, their realities and our expectations also must adjust.  

In doing this, our thoughts and beliefs will show up in our actions and support how positively and warmly we welcome a father, their family, and their unique caregiving dynamic.

In this next section, we share commonly-held views of fathers and their role as parents/caregivers. We will demonstrate how we can flip these impressions to see fathers with a more strengths-based mindset. 

Traditional View

Strengths-Based Mindset

Fathers’ child rearing responsibilities are often seen as less difficult or involved and more comparable to “babysitting” than mothers’. In some cases, it’s implied that they supervise their children “on occasion” compared to the cultural view of mothers who are seen as the primary caretakers. We can start by assuming fathers are doing their best and have existing knowledge and skills that make them equally competent caregivers. When we view fathers as engaged and capable caregivers, we are more inclusive of their ideas, their knowledge and their opinions in support of their child’s learning and development.  

Consider these situations, as they often reflect our inclination towards communicating with mothers/female caregivers without also including fathers/male caregivers:  

Which parent or guardian does our program contact when a child has an emergency?  

– Who is addressed in messages, bulletins, paperwork sent home?  

– When it comes to important decisions around a child’s educational path, are both parents/all involved guardians informed of the decision?  

If you answered, “mother or female caregiver” only to the questions above, we want you to reflect on this style of communicating with families.  By including all family members in your outreach and conferences about children, you are more likely to develop greater perspective and gain more information on each child in your care.  You might also receive valuable input or engagement from the fathers in your program. 

How Early Learning Programs Can Support Father-Child Relationships

With these reflections and key ideas in our pockets, we can now move into what they could look like in action. Explore these next two sections for inspiration that can transform your program’s father engagement culture and practices.  

  • Return to our core family engagement assumptions:
    1) All families have strengths,
    2) All families are doing their best
    , given their capacity and reality, and
    3) All families bring
    strengths to the table.
    It’s our role to meet families where they are and see them as fully as we can, recognizing their realities, gifts, knowledge, expertise, and dreams.  
  • It is our responsibility to reflect and challenge our preconceived ideas or biases about fathers, fatherhood, and expectations of male caregivers. In addition to the ideas shared in the last section, consider the cultural differences in caretaking roles and unique family dynamics (such as single fathers, same sex fathers, stepparents, stay-at-home dads, etc.). As with any family, we can better support parents/caregivers by building strong relationships, getting to know them, and getting to know their dreams, needs, strengths, etc.  
  • Recognize cultural differences in fathers’ parenting styles can vary based on race, ethnicity, and upbringing.  Different is not deficient.  When we build relationships with fathers, we learn more about their individual views on parenting and can work together to provide information that best supports their child’s growth and development.
  • Get informed about each family’s unique dynamic. This starts with learning about each family and who makes up their family unit (relatives, stepfamily, foster parents, close friends, etc.), what their caregiving practices look like (who manages drop off/pick up, who does the child spend time with, what are the family member’s schedules like, etc.).   
  • Check in with families and make the additional effort to ensure the responsible parents/caregivers are all part of the conversation around their child’s wellbeing and early learning journey. Consider the specific practices of:  
    1) calling each parent/guardian when scheduling family-teacher conferences,  
    2) notifying at least 2 caregivers when a child is sick or injured,  
    3) adjusting paperwork to provide families the opportunities to have more than 1 guardian sign off on decisions effecting their child.  
  • Build opportunities to recognize a father’s/male caregiver’s strengths into your program’s processes. Such as including fathers in entrance interviews, a father/male caregiver celebration day, newsletter activities, family bulletin boards, family-teacher conferences, inclusion on committees,  etc.  
  • Make a consistent effort to connect with fathers & male caregivers in your day-to-day interactions. What can this look like? For instance: asking children and fathers/male caregivers about their shared time, what they enjoy doing together, and how their weekend/evening/morning/vacation went.
  • Include visuals of fathers/male caregivers and children in your program’s environment – both in-person and digitally. Think of your classroom environment, posters displayed, dolls/toys that represent male figures of different skin tones, flyers, and emails used to family members.  
  • Create targeted outreach specifically for fathers & male caregivers. Phone calls, emails, newsletters, flyers, social media announcements, etc.; take your pick. Especially consider personally inviting them – this extra effort can make all the difference!  
  • Create tailored events for fathers & male caregivers. These events geared towards fathers and male caregivers are pivotal, as they offer more comfortable spaces for their participation, which can allow them to open up more, support each other, volunteer and connect with children, offer their strengths and voice in support of our programs, etc. Be sure to include fathers in the planning of these events to ensure they reflect the needs and interests of the father-figures at your program.  Potential events include:
    • Monthly “Donuts with Dads,“Grub with the Guys” events – these can be support groups, conversation spaces with program staff, etc.  
    • Father/Male Caregiver & Child events – to play, support early literacy, strengthen early math habits, support social-emotional learning, etc. Check out the activities that Sesame Street in Communities offers on their Dads Resource page for inspiration! 
  • Tailor your messaging, resources, and activities for different family structures. Consider stepparents, grandparents, uncles, etc. – how can our offerings better include them?
  • Empower fathers and male caregivers to take leadership roles in your program. Whether you have a family-child care program or center-based program, this can be a rather effective strategy and it adapts well! Here are a few starter ideas: 
    • Ask about their knowledge of local resources & services and if they can serve as liaisons to your program, encourage them to offer an activity for children that centers on their strengths/hobbies (like a read-aloud time, music, STEM experiments, building DIY crafts), invite them to join Parent Advisory Councils or other leadership committees (school, district, etc.). 

Naturally, consider your program’s capacity and unique family dynamics. Above all, if we can center the voices of the fathers/male caregivers and their families, then our home-school relationship will flourish.  

When children have a strong, constant, supportive and loving relationship with a responsible father figure, they are more likely to grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, and resilient citizens. Our early learning programs are in a pivotal position to support father-child relationships and bolster interactions with positive male role models, particularly in these valuable early years of a child’s life. As Frederick Douglass shared, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” 

Cristina Espinoza
Family Education Coordinator, Quality Start Los Angeles

Cristina Espinoza has worked as a family and youth development professional for 7 years, including having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer as a youth development promoter in Costa Rica. In conjunction with Quality Start Los Angeles, Cristina is passionate about supporting families to feel empowered in the changing landscape of their surroundings with their children’s wellbeing at the forefront.  She is a champion of strengths-based systems and services that build resilient families and youth.