Many have said that we need to have a conversation about racism and inequality. We agree that it is always important to have deep and constructive conversations and discussions about race and racism, and then we must turn our talk into action.
Dedicated to providing equitable early education to support the needs of our children and families, YW3CA has begun implementing a curriculum study for the team of dedicated teachers at our Pottstown center. YW3CA has been providing child care at its 315 King Street location for more than 40 years – a program developed to tackle a realized need in our community. We’re dedicated to evolving our programs with our community’s needs, which means addressing the outcry for social justice and equitable education in our country and across the world.
YW3CA’s Early Education Center team has put together a social justice plan to continue professional development using NAEYC’s Anti-Bias Education curriculum. Monthly meetings and weekly discussions will be hosted by EEC’s leadership team to improve understanding and application of the curriculum’s objectives in each of our center’s classrooms.
Anti-bias education has four goals for children that have developed from the need to identify and prevent, as much as possible, the harmful emotional and psychological impacts on children from societal prejudice and bias. The goals are designed to strengthen children’s sense of self and family (Identity); to support their joy in human diversity (Diversity); to enable them to gain the cognitive and social and emotional tools to recognize hurtful behavior (Justice); and to develop the confidence and skills to work with others to build inclusive ways of being in community (Activism). (Anti-Bias Education, NAEYC, P.4-5)
The goal of this professional development series is to foster a greater understanding of ways in which we may provide equitable education to all of our students while promoting their sense of dignity within the classroom community. YW3CA utilizes additional resources as well, including implicit bias training delivered by YW3CA staff, to support the curricula in areas of anti-bias education.
Additionally, in our classrooms we exercise Conscious Discipline curricula, which aligns to our mission and guides teacher’s interactions with children, families, and each other. Using this framework, teachers build a classroom community where children feel safe to learn how to deal with feelings and build connections to others. Our focus is on relationships rather than behavior. The individual needs of children and families are paramount to the decision-making of all teachers and administrators throughout our early education center. Our commitment to learning includes all members of our early education community including families, teachers, paraprofessionals, community members, board members and public officials.
The goal of our inclusive environment (for those with special needs and with exceptionalities) is to create a sense of community in which everyone has a voice and a commitment to learning through a variety of methods of empowerment. At the heart of anti-bias work is a vision of a world in which all children are able to blossom and each child’s abilities and gifts are able to flourish.
YW’s educational programming reflects a three-tiered Theory of Change designed to improve social and economic mobility: direct service, issue education, and advocacy. YW’s Theory of Change also operates under the foundational belief that social problems should be addressed on multiple levels. YW3CA takes a holistic view of the families it serves, offering information and referral, adult education, and job readiness assistance to the parents and guardians of youth participating in educational and enrichment programs. YWCA Tri-County Area also engages families regularly through events designed to bring our community together for enrichment and education.
Our future depends not on heroic leaders but on a generation of young people with the skills and commitment to recognize and challenge injustices. We pride ourselves in raising future generations to be resilient and confident in their abilities to learn, grow, lead, and advocate for themselves and their community at large.
At YWCA, we demand a world of equity and human decency. We envision a world of opportunity. We commit ourselves to the work of racial justice. We stand together with the people that we serve and our community stakeholders to eliminate racism and empower women. This work and our mission is at the core of what we do.
Learn more about our Early Education Center and enroll your child today at: ywcatricountyarea.org/what-we-do/early-education-center/.