It is prudent to enter this topic with a few statistical pieces in mind. First, there are about “195 different countries” in the world; secondly, the US population includes members from “150 different countries” (Laureate Education, Week 7). Diversity then needs to be approached with the clear focus of a globally united supportive environment. Every individual child will bring with them the cultural tools that allow them to navigate or detach in new environments. These transitions prove too difficult task for many marginalized groups within our society, and more so for those new to our dominant culture. If we are to advocate for diversity and help children to understand the importance of our individuals differences in working from an anti bias educational perspective. The objectives being goal specific; “nurture each child’s construction of knowledgeable and confident personal and social identities”; “promote each child’s comfortable, empathic interaction…” “Foster each child’s capacity to critically identify bias and will nurture each child’s empathy for the hurt bias causes”; Cultivate each child’s ability and confidence to stand up for oneself and for others in the face of bias” (Derman-Sparks, 2020, p.5).
The first step towards anti-bias education is self reflection, an inward look towards internalized oppression and privilege, how we react to indignities, both overt and unconscious, and how personal growth, influences our professional goals towards inclusion. I make the distinction in reference to ethical standards and code of conduct of the particular discipline engaged in early childhood education and promoting community wellness, safety, and potential for growth and development.
In my involvement with children as a behavioral technician, I interact with a diverse population. In preparation for the initial visit and educational engagement of behavior modification to a child of a recently relocated from Brazil, I must explore some specific features about the country, such as disparities. I discovered that Brazil has 26states and is 5th largest country, and it’s an independent nation. Yet the most relevant issues that I needed to concern myself with is the social disparities prevalent and marginalized through weakened social bonds. The World Health Organization (2006) emphasizes this nuance stating, “The weakening of social bonds caused by income inequalities incur in low levels of social capital and of political participation” (p.4). Further, “The burden is twofold in Brazil. Besides showing serious inequalities in income distribution, there are strata of the population living in such poverty that they cannot access the minimum essential conditions and goods for their health” (p. 4).
In understanding the prevailing issues of this country will allow me to have some understanding of the political atmosphere, and a concern about the health inequities experienced in many regions of the country. This information allows us to be more responsive of the potential needs. Culturally responsiveness in,1- sensitive support to help them deal with their anxieties and fears, real or imagined of separation; 2- creating a workplace climate of respect and safety for both child and family; 3- Interact with the families and invite them to be active participants in the learning process; 4- Connect immigrant families with other supports; 5- Reaching out to colleagues, class peers, and others having experience with immigrant family complexities (Derman-Sparks, 2020). Generalized knowledge, white not specific to the individual, lends to understanding the wellness of the nation.
Ideally, we enter into the field of early childhood understanding that all children have the right to the equity being denied in many regions of the world. For me it is important to understand how the family identifies themselves within their culture in order to help them make use of the resources available, and being sensitive and respectful of the individual families. Growth and development occurs within, between, and as a result of our social interactions (Smidt, 2013). Having the conscious need to be sensitive, and asking the pertinent questions and employing clarification offers an overt demonstration of genuine partnership.
Derman-Sparks, L., Edwards, J. O. (20201110). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, 2nd Edition. [[VitalSource Bookshelf version]]. Retrieved from vbk://9781938113581
Smidt, S. (2013). The developing child in the 21st century: A global perspective on child development (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Routledge.
World Health Organization (2006, March). Health inequities in Brazil: Our most serious disease. https://www.who.int/social_determinants/country_action/health_inequalities_bz.pdf
One thought on “Welcoming Families from Around the World”
Thank you for sharing your views on ways to be culturally responsive to engage with your new family. I like your idea of exploring the country the family comes from. I also would educate myself with some general knowledge about the country. Cynthia