Friday, 27 February 2015

Blog Week 8 : Reflecting on Learning

As a result of the learning I have gained from the past eight weeks of this course I understand and appreciate the need to teach diversity and anti-bias education in a more profound way than ever before. I want to ensure that I am creating an environment in which authentic lessons about diversity are embedded in the curriculum throughout each and every day rather than just in the celebration of holidays or through concrete lessons. I really appreciate the way in which Hoffman taught us to use each and every lesson to teach something meaningful about various cultural groups, recent issues that evolved in the classroom or any other social injustices. Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards (2010) state that “Anti-bias education work in early childhood is shaped by a deep-seated belief in the importance of justice, the dream of each child being able to achieve all he or she is capable of, the knowledge that together human beings can make a difference” (p.9). When we began this journey towards anti-bias education we were told that it would take a personal commitment. I am truly committed and dedicated to this professional endeavor because I not only believe that it is crucial for the healthy development of all children but I am also amazed and honored at the opportunity we as educators have to make a difference.

I would like to take a minute to thank each and every one of my peers for their support during the past eight weeks. I have learned and have grown as a result of the rich discussion and insight that has taken place through both the blog posts and the discussion forum.

Thanks again, and best of luck in future courses and endeavors- we are almost there!


Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Impacts on Early Emotional Development

For this week’s Blog Assignment I researched the efforts that are occurring in Haiti through UNICEF. As I have already mentioned throughout this course, a few years ago shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, I had a young Haitian girl come into my classroom as a transnational student. It amazed me how resilient she was in overcoming all of the horrors, loss and pain she faced.
I chose Haiti, because due to the 2010 earthquake many children were left orphaned, homeless, and abandoned in the destruction. “On Jan. 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck Haiti, killing more than 160,000 and displacing close to 1.5 million people” (Laurent, 2015).

Statistics about poverty in Haiti:

1) As a result of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 approximately 230,000 people were killed in a matter of moments and 2 million others were displaced.

2) Over 70,000 homes, businesses and public buildings were destroyed and nearly 5000 of these include schools.

3) 500,000 children in Haiti are living in camps and many others living in slums. These children lack the protection of social and police services, and are under continued threat of exploitation and abuse.

Currently, the country is not only feeling the aftermath from the destruction of the earthquake, they are also facing an outbreak of cholera because of displacement issues, problems with sanitation and clean water. “Until every household has access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, cholera and other water-borne diseases will remain a potential threat to vulnerable families throughout the country,” said Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. “We count on the support of the UN and that of international partners to make this a reality” (Unicef, 2014).
These experiences can have a huge effect on a child’s emotional wellbeing and development because not only can this affect their immediate health but constant stress, fear and uncertainty can definitely impede a child’s healthy development and emotional well-being.

All children are entitled to the basic necessities (food, clean water, shelter, education) that many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, this is not the reality that many children in Haiti face. This experience, of researching children in other countries made me reflect personally on all I have and take for granted. Even within my role as an educator, I am shocked at what some of my students face and the instability within their lives. It is my job as an educator to provide consistency and support and to be knowledgeable about the supports available in order to provide resources to the children I care for.


Laurent, O. (2015). Haiti Earthquake: Five Years After. Retrieved from:

Unicef (July 16, 2014). Retrieved from:

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Sexualization of Early Childhood

Share your reaction to the topic of the sexualization of early childhood.

Children are taught about sexualization as well as gender stereotypes and expectations early on. With that said, while reading “So Sexy So Soon”, I was discouraged, but not entirely surprised by the information given. Sexual representations are depicted everywhere we look. In commercials, movies, television shows, magazines and even children’s books and media segments intended for children. This week’s article explains that there is a difference between sex and sexuality versus sexualization. “When people are sexualized, their value comes primarily from their sex appeal, which is equated with physical attractiveness” (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009, p. 4). We have all heard the harm and confusion that beauty magazines cause for children. They aspire to look like perfect photo shopped models and feel insecure and inferior when they do not. It is amazing to think that cartoon characters are just as easily impacting the way in which children see themselves in comparison to media portrayals. “Long before very young children are aware of or have words for what they are doing, they internalize a profound sense of “rightness” and familiarity with the particular way the people in their culture behave” (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010, p. 58). It is important for us as educators to understand that by preschool age children are beginning to develop group cultural identities and other social understanding. This can be a very delicate, confusing and abstract process especially for those children who do not closely match the “dominant culture ideal” (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010). This cultural ideal can easily be associated to the way in which a specific sex should look or act.

Provide three or more examples, from your personal or professional experience, that further illustrate the exposure of young children to a highly sexualized environment. Explain the implications this may have on children’s healthy development. Include ideas you might have, as an early childhood professional, to best respond to these concerns and to reduce the negative impact on children.

When I was teaching a grade two class, I was shocked at hearing some of my young female students singing Rihanna’s song S&M, while doing a very risqué dance in the hall. They were obviously mimicking what they had seen watching a music video. I think that parents need to not only filter what young children are exposed to, but have open discussions about what children are seeing and doing openly. I have seen many media examples such as beauty pageant television shows for children such as Baby Beauty Queens or Toddlers and Tiara’s. These children are wearing skimpy clothing, tons of makeup and embodying artificial beauty (fake hair extensions, air brushing etc.) these young children are being subjected to sexualization at such an early age and they are showing other children that this is the expectation for them as well. Exposure to this sexualized expectation can impact and impede on a child’s healthy development for various reasons. “Such lessons will shape their gender identity, sexual attitudes, values, and their capacity for relationships, for love and connection that they take into adulthood” (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009, p. 2). Finally, even the dolls and shows intended for young children offer very stereotypical and highly sexualized examples to young girls about what they should look like and how they should act. Both educators and parents need to be aware that these messages are being received by young children and that they could be consciously and unconsciously affecting their view of self and their opinion of themselves and others.

Describe the ways in which your awareness of the sexualization of early childhood has been influenced and/or modified by studying the topic this week.

As I mentioned, I have been aware of the sexualization of childhood for quite some time and it is something that we discussed within other courses as part of this program. This week’s resources and assignments, however, made me think about the way in which sexuality and sexualization has evolved through media representations. How the expectations have changed and therefore the way in which gender norms are perceived have changed as well. Sexuality is much more overt in today’s media, however, I believe that the messages and expectations have always been there. All of the examples I referenced above related to female children. I do not know if this is a coincidence, if I am more sensitive to female sexualization because I myself am female or if female children are targeted more often. This week’s tasks made me reflect and ponder this question as well.


Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Levin, D. E., & Kilbourne, J. (2009). [Introduction]. So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids (pp. 1-8). New York: Ballantine Books. Retrieved from:

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Blog Assignment Week 5: Evaluating Impacts on Professional Practic

Recall that in previous courses in this program you have learned about child development, family systems, and the significant influences adult relationships have on children's social, emotional, and cognitive growth and the forming of social identities. Next, think about what you learned about classism, racism, gender stereotyping and sexism, and other"-isms" prevalent in our society. Consider the ways in which these "–isms" influence people's well-being. Now, imagine that you are an early childhood professional who is experiencing one or more of the "-isms" in your personal life. i.e., people are reacting to you with stereotypes and prejudice.
How might such experiences affect your own emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being? How might this impact your work with young children and their families? Describe in detail the consequences you might expect for the children and families with whom you work while you experience specific "–ism(s)" in your own life. Include specific examples either those you have and/or are experiencing or ones you would anticipate.
                Throughout this program we have examined the effects and causes of many isms. We have even discussed the social, emotional and developmental effects they can have on a child’s well-being. During the work throughout this program my definition and understanding about what the term diversity means has deepened. As I have already stated, before within this course I overlooked many of the “isms” and had not at all considered family culture as crucial components that coincide with diversity. It is amazing the influence that we as educators can have on a child’s view of the world. It is our duty to ensure that we are offering unbiased opportunities for children to feel secure, powerful and safe while deciding on and deciphering their roles as individuals. It is important to note that I truly believe that everyone faces some form of discrimination, prejudice, or stereotypes in one way or another. Personally, I have experienced sexism against being a woman. I hate bringing my car to the garage for mechanical work because I feel as though my opinion is often overlooked and ignored. I have faced inappropriate advances and tasteless jokes in my personal and professional life. I believe that my experiences in dealing with this ism could interfere with my work with children and their families because I may take situations dealing with sexism to heart and find being objective difficult. I have shared this experience before but one specific example is when I was asked by a father to only address him and not his wife during conferences etc. If I had news about his son or needed to get in touch with anyone regarding their son I was only supposed to reach out to the father. I found these directions extremely hard to follow because they infuriated me and made me feel as though he felt that women were beneath men. I needed to put my biases and opinions aside in order to benefit the student.

           Children are growing up in a world full of contradicting ideas. They are taught that all people are created equal and therefore should be treated as equals and yet they live in a world in which this is definitely not the case. “In general, children have a deep desire for fairness. They want to be treated fairly, and they have a natural inclination to want the world to be fair for others. When children have the means to think about what they see, hear and read… they are more equipped to analyze their world” (Derman-Sparks & Olsen Edwards, 2010, p.155). It is our duty to show people that this should be the case by teaching an anti-bias curriculum and supporting true diversity within the classroom.

Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).