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Becoming as Human as We Can Be
September 11, 2023
You can't sit around waiting for someone else to say who you are. You need to write it and paint it and do it!
-Faith Ringgold, painter, writer, quilter, sculptor

Near the end of From Teaching to Thinking, co-author Margie Carter sets out a clear challenge to us all, reflecting her years of serving and reflecting on our field from numerous vantage points:

I want us to say No to the dominant story that says our role is to get children ready to compete in the marketplace. We say No to teacher-proof curriculum packages with assessment tools that will "fix" the children (and teachers) that we have failed to respect, to invest our hearts and minds in. ¡Basta! We know that this worldview leads us down a destructive path, and we have had enough. We have enough evidence that another world is possible, and this is the world we want our work to create. We say YES to a narrative of joy and beauty, of wonder and tears and music. We will tell stories that matter, stories that ask questions, stories that call forward our dearest values and biggest vision.

While the disruptive shadow of a global pandemic still looms over much of the early childhood world, magnifying long-standing issues from workforce to well-being, Pelo and Carter’s pre-pandemic opus remains a bold call to action, both challenging and inspiring:

Our endeavor of pedagogical documentation involves finding and telling the stories that matter, the good news of becoming as human as we can be. How else will we survive?


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Kirsten Haugen · September 11, 2023
Eugene, OR, United States

Thanks, Francis. I totally agree that all children, of all abilities and circumstances, should enjoy their rights to choice, play, music, joy and wonder - beautifully said! And yes, there's a disturbing K-12 pushdown into early ed, when I think more children would benefit from a pushup, so to speak. I do believe that's exactly what Margie and Ann are advocating for here in saying 'enough' to standardized approaches that leave out these children most of all and in saying 'yes' to telling the stories that matter. Stories are what inform our deeper understandings that go beyond the mythical average that conforms to rigid scales, processes and expectations.

Francis Wardle · September 11, 2023
University of Phoenix/ Red Rocks Community College
Denver, Colorado, 80222, Colorado, United States

While I totally agree with this view, there is one area that is deeply challenging to this idea, and that we don't seem willing to address: the education of young children with developmental delays. There is a very strong push for early intervention, and an industry-wide acceptance of using applied behavioral analysis in working with many children with delays (especially those on the spectrum). Part of the problem is that the conventional approaches used with special education students comes from k-12 practices and IDEA (designed for k-12). How do we resolve these two apparently opposing points of view? Don't children with delays also have a right to choice, play, music, joy and wonder?

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