Council Letter

September 22, 2021

The Power of Diversity in ECE

Dear Colleagues,

Every day our classrooms and our communities become more diverse. “We have become, not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic,” as Jimmy Carter once said, “different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” Accepting all the ways we are unique will make the world a more peaceful place. And that was important as we marked 20 years since the attacks of 9/11, a crisis that put the spotlight on what divides us. As memories of the event came back, early childhood teachers had a key role to play in teaching young children that we can all be neighbors.

In a moving blog, Dr. Calvin Moore brings us the thoughts of some who lived through that tragic day. One is an early childhood teacher who brought children to safety. Another is a young man who was a child when the Twin Towers crashed to the ground. “Fortunately, I had a wonderful teacher,” he recalled, “who taught us that one group of people doesn’t represent an entire race or religion. People of all races and religions have the ability to do bad things and good things, too.”

This message still matters, so we must keep teaching children to find what joins us and value what sets us apart. “In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength,” Maya Angelou pointed out. And you’ll see what this means as we mark Hispanic Heritage Month by featuring a caring professional who provides home visiting services to immigrant families in Washington, DC.

Gisela Hurtdo urges us to take a strengths-based approach when we serve newcomers to our nation. Some are political refugees. Others have fled gang violence, she says. “Imagine the trauma they went through to get here. They left everything behind, and some of them faced life-and-death situations. Not everybody can do that.” So, these families deserve respect, as we stress in our CDA textbook, Essentials for Working with Young Children.

Essentials explores ways culture shapes family dynamics, something to keep in mind as we work with immigrant families whose traditions may differ from our own. Effective partnerships require both educators and parents to treat each other as equals, confer on important decisions about a child, and respect each other’s opinions whatever differences there might be.

The value of these tips crosses over to countries around the globe. And they’ve made the CDA a big success in China, as you’ll see in our profile of Jing Zhao Cesarone, who’s brought the credential to China. “The CDA,” she explains, “accommodates different cultures and also allows our early childhood teachers to bring their own personal input to the classroom.”

With Cesarone’s support, the CDA is shaping the future of early learning in China, and next month you can learn more about how we’re Building Strong Futures for children here in the U.S. So, don’t miss our Virtual Experience on October 6-8 featuring a diverse body of speakers. The event will take place during our Early Educators Leadership Conference, a time when we honor what brings us together: a shared mission to serve young children. And part of that mission is to inspire our youngsters to be tolerant in their classrooms and in their communities worldwide. Diversity is one of the things we all have in common. We should celebrate it every day.

With all our respect,

The Council for Professional Recognition

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Being Neighbors on 9/11

The morning sun lit a clear, blue sky as America started its day. Highways filled with traffic and railroads rumbled with trains. Planes soared into that cloudless sky, two from Boston, one from Newark and...