Social Justice Principles in ECE

Equity, Equality, and Diversity, Oh My!

What is Social Justice?

Social Justice has become a popular buzzword in our society. But what is social justice? Is it just a political concept? Is it something we should be striving for in our classrooms? “I treat everyone the same” is a mantra often heard in classrooms, but is this really the goal we should be striving for? This workshop will explore the differences between equity and equality, the idea of privilege, and how to honor, respect, and sustain the culture of each child in your learning environment. Learn about what a single story is, how to avoid it, and how to avoid a touristy approach to diversity. Only by understanding all of these concepts can we truly provide an equitable experience for all children.

What is Culture?

Culture is something that is hard to define. We are all so immersed in our own culture that it becomes difficult to celebrate and sustain the culture of others. How often do we develop stereotypes due to a lack of information? We may find it difficult to see another person’s perspective. Then these beliefs begin to influence our classroom. We struggle to know how to have a culturally diverse classroom, especially if our classroom population is not diverse. We may wind up with “holiday” costumes in an effort to include other cultures. Or we may “visit” a culture in our classroom curriculum to help children learn more about it. By doing this, we trivialize a child’s culture and promote stereotypes that may not truly represent the children and families in our care. Catalogs and websites abound with information that contributes to this stereotype.

This course seeks to provide you with an understanding of basic social justice principles in a non-political way. The course provides a simple way to determine whether something is culturally appropriate for early childhood and gives specific ideas for classroom improvement.

Approved in OH (OA-L2 for SUTQ), HI, IN, KY & MI.
CDA Area: To establish positive and productive relationships with families
Pending approval in NC.

Course Instructor

Dr. Jenni Jacobs Dr. Jenni Jacobs Author