A message from Amanda Grear, ELM Program Manager.
The 48th annual National Black Child Development Institute conference was my first NBCDI conference—and, boy, was it something. Being there, I felt an enormous sense of pride—pride in being amongst fellow professionals who are doing great work, all of us eager to learn more and, most importantly, all of us unapologetically Black.
I had many ah-ha moments. But here are just a few, along with links to additional resources, if you're curious.
- Diving into the HighScope Model and the protective factors that—when offered in a child's early years—build resilience and success. They are: Protection, Affection, Correction and Connection. (More info at HighScope)
- Discussing what a high-quality early learning system consists of: 1) a nationally recognized set of standards, 2) a comprehensive assessment system, 3) program standards, 4) data, 5) health promotion, 6) family and community engagement and 7) a thriving early learning workforce with professional learning. (More info at Waterford UPSTART)
- Learning that currently there is a pervasive economic insecurity among early childhood education practitioners. From 2007 to 2011, 46% of childcare workers participated in some sort of public assistance program. (More info at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment)
- Exploring how to disrupt “deficit thinking” in a break-out session where we talked about the importance of moving from a poverty mindset to that of an asset building mindset and using corresponding language.
- Hearing from a New York City school leader that, “It’s really important for children of color to see people like them in places of power and leadership so that they can aspire to those positions.” Because, as Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You cannot be, what you cannot see.”
Ultimately, we all agreed that our work advancing the quality of life of Black children and families will not be done until there is no opportunity gap, no achievement gap and—most importantly—the genius of Black children shines!