The Importance of Being Culturally Responsive in Early Childhood Education

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The article published on March 2011 by Francis Wardle is focused on delineating the issue of race and ethnicity in early childhood education. Wardle acknowledges that today’s professionals working with children see the importance of being culturally responsive but are faced with the challenge of children not understanding the concepts of race and ethnicity. In view of the importance of these concepts in shaping one’s identity, various strategies are provided to help professionals in early childhood programs.

Wardle proposes the approach of being knowledgeable and sensitive to matters of race and ethnicity. In my view, this is a challenge since in some cases, some people have darker or lighter complexions that do not match their identities. Professionals are also urged to help children develop a secure and accurate identity. I concur that instilling a sense of pride to children of all backgrounds is a positive step in fostering inclusivity. Wardle argues that it is beneficial to let parents inform schools about their values and beliefs. Personally, I find this strategy effective since it has a formal approach to celebrating diversity. Children can also be taught foreign languages to foster bilingual activities. Curricula and policies can also be evaluated to accommodate all students.

I agree with Wardle’s proposal of starting with each child and their families in helping them construct positive realities about diversity. I similarly appreciate the unique strategy of not responding to a child as a member of a race or ethnic group but as an individual. This empowers children in acknowledging their uniqueness while learning about their racial and ethnic identities. In sum, Wardle delivers a valid approach that the main objective is to offer children a favorable environment, activities, curricula and engagement that nurture their understanding of social identity.  

“Fostering Individuality, Valuing Uniformity: Learning from the Past to Engage in Tomorrow” by Dorothy W. Hewes

The article by Hewes published in 2010 in the Heritage discusses an interesting topic of merging individuality and uniformity in learning environments. She recalls how when she joined the Marine Corps she would express her individuality by creating a salad bar and wearing a petticoat and her uniform. Her mother and grandmother had Froebelian education training which focuses on building a child’s interests. Hewes’ teacher, Mrs. Spencer, encouraged her to practice self-directed learning and this made her a widely-published writer. Before the 1960s, there were few requirements in becoming a preschool administrator. Today, Hewes observes that childhood programs are made of myriad management principles but as Froebel argued in the 1840s, schools require self-government. Scientific management supports running schools in clear lines but kindergarten scholars promoted self-activity.

I concur with Hewes’ view on the importance of building on a child’s interests and encouraging individuality. I believe that this approach nurtures children into people who know their strengths and weaknesses and are able to adapt to different situations. Self-activity is especially important in kindergarten when children are impressionable and constructing a foundation for future learning activities. I concur that self-directed learning helps professionals identify areas where a child is good at and those that need improvement. I equally appreciate the importance of learning through curricula that is standard in various disciplines as it ensures children have uniform academic qualifications. Thus, I support Hewes’ proposal of utilizing both practices in learning activities. This guarantees the promotion of individuality among children while making sure that children memorize information that is crucial in various fields. This combinational strategy is poised to help professionals in childhood education institutions in delivering true educational progress.      

Works Cited

Hewes, Dorothy W. "Fostering Individuality, Valuing Uniformity: Learning from the Past to Engage in Tomorrow." Heritage, July 2010, pp. 60-62. Accessed 17 Dec. 2018.

Wardle, Francis. "Responding to racial and ethnic diversity in early childhood programs." Diversity Exchange, Mar.-Apr. 2011, pp. 68-71, Accessed 17 Dec. 2018.

August 14, 2023


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