Identifying, confronting and disrupting racism is essential and complex. As a profession, we have work to do. This effort can take many forms, including:
- individual learning;
- building relationships and sharing experiences;
- developing curriculum; or
- advocating for change within our sector.
All of these activities can be part of a Registered Early Childhood Educator’s (RECE’s) Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) goals and activities. Are you interested in sharing your learning goals, activities and reflections? Send us an email at [email protected].
We recently published an article that was co-developed with one of the founding members of the Community of Black ECEs, Nicole Cummings-Morgan. In it, she shared some of her CPL activities centred on learning more about anti-bias and anti-racism. She also discussed how to confront it in her practice.
This follow-up article shows some of the ways you can integrate learning about anti-racism into your CPL.
The College of Early Childhood Educators recently released a Statement of Commitment to Anti-Racism outlining how we, as an organization have begun to address racism and discrimination in everything we do and how we plan to do more.
From goal setting to go getting
Whether you work directly with children on a daily basis, teach in postsecondary ECE programs, support children and families as a resource consultant or work in a policy-based environment, as an RECE, you are required to complete a CPL Portfolio Cycle every two years.
“One of my CPL goals is to witness and experience the profession within various community contexts to gain a better understanding of differences, while also getting a better appreciation for the unique elements of each community,” says Jené Gordon RECE. “As a Black RECE, I hadn’t considered how my own community continues to be affected by anti-Black racism within the sector.”
Her goal is to obtain a variety of experiences. She opted to take a leadership role as a book study facilitator, which Jené counted as one of her learning activities. “Engaging in such deep and personal discussions was an emotionally bankrupting experience. However, even with strongly diverging opinions, I had an appreciation for the honesty and vulnerability shared,” she says. “The overall experience not only informed but empowered me to use my voice in disrupting and dismantling barriers that continue to obstruct marginalized communities, specifically within the profession.”
Learning activities don’t have to mean spending money on courses, webinars or textbooks. They can include engaging in discussions within a community of practice, similar to what Jené did. Reading articles, blogs or College resources, such as the Practice Guideline on Diversity and Culture can also be valuable.
Adjusting and adapting
Some of you may be wondering, I’m already part way through my CPL cycle, but I want to change one of my goals – can I do that?
The answer is yes. The portfolio is set up to be self-directed. You can learn what you want, when you want, as long as it helps you further your professional practice skills, strengths and expertise.
Deb Gores RECE, who also participated in the book study, decided to tweak her goals mid-way through her CPL cycle. “I was inspired to adjust my goals to focus on learning more about anti-racism,” she says. “My new goal now relates to how I can continue to use an anti-racist lens in my practice, and ensure that I am critically reflecting on my own beliefs and biases as a regulated professional.”
To support her new goal, Deb has joined two communities of practice. She reads independently as her learning activities have led her to think about every word or example she uses, as communicating with other RECEs is a big part of her professional role. “I now consider how what I say or write could be disproportionately affecting marginalized communities,” says Deb.
We have many resources to support you in strengthening your practice and achieving your CPL goals.
Visit our website for the following resources:
- Reflective Practice and Self-directed Learning
- Communities of Practice
- Leading Professional Practice Discussions
- CPL homepage – find the portfolio documents, FAQs and more.