Black History Month is a time to celebrate Black culture, arts and the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, while acknowledging the ongoing realities of anti-Black racism.
As much as it is important to recognize and celebrate Black History Month, to avoid tokenistic recognition, this reflection should extend beyond the month of February and Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) should find ways to incorporate the identities of Black Canadians throughout the curriculum. Therefore, as highlighted in the College’s Practice Guideline on Diversity and Culture, it is important for us to be engaged in meaningful inclusion and have ongoing conversations of the contributions of Black Canadians throughout the year.
Change is Necessary
Anti-Black racism is rooted in legacies of colonialism and slavery. The College recognizes that anti-Black racism is not only a part of Canadian history, but also remains a reality today for many of our members, children they serve, and communities throughout Canada.
Change is necessary to eliminate existing racial inequities, and education plays a critical role in driving it. Read more in the College’s Statement of Commitment to Anti-Racism.
Anti-Black racism may be your daily lived reality and some Black members may have institutional support within their communities, while others may feel alone. There are communities of practice in our sector to support you:
Learn More About Black History and Anti-Black Racism
RECEs value the rights of children and on an ongoing basis, seek ways to create culturally responsive pedagogy. Knowing more about Black history and anti-Black racism can help with this, and be a focus for continuous professional learning (CPL). It enables RECEs to co-create safe and inclusive environments for children and their families.
Nicole Cummings-Morgan RECE talks about her experiences and learning.
“During my post-secondary education, I was exposed to Eurocentric theorists and was led to believe these were the only scholars that have positively influenced the profession,” Nicole says. “Later, through my practical experiences within the sector, I was a part of ECE teams led mostly by white RECEs. Upon reflection, I realized this suggested to me that white ECEs had more earning and leadership opportunities. These opportunities felt out of reach for me, and it occurred to me that perhaps other Black RECEs were feeling the same way.”
Reflecting on her experience at school with eurocentrism, Nicole had a startling realization. Nowhere in their research had these theorists considered the experiences, values, views or ideas from Black children and families, yet their research was foundational to the program. “The theories had some relevance, but I wondered about my training. Was I at my optimum as an educator — the educator I wanted to be – if I didn’t learn from Black Scholars? Or from theories that would be applicable to the diverse Black children and families that I would be working with, with their unique stories and histories?” she says.
Read Nicole’s full story here.
As part of the College’s commitment to anti-racism, we recognize the importance of amplifying diverse voices of leadership within the profession.
We encourage RECEs to contribute to Amplifying Voices. Share your story. Be an inspiration to your peers.
Here are a few letters, poems, and articles written by Black RECEs.
- Re-imagining Early Childhood Care and Education in a Post-George Floyd World: An Open Letter by Natalie Royer RECE
- My Racism Story by C. Elias RECE
- Racism, It Hurts by Bytchello Prévil EPEI
To contribute to Amplifying Voices, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Amplifying Voices”
Resources for educators
Use the following sources to guide you in your practice.
- Ontario Black History Society Check out OBHS’s educational resources, including #ShareTheirStory.
- The Educators’ Toolkit | Parents of Black Children
- Anti-Racism Education in Canada
To learn more about anti-Black racism, check out the works of the following experts in early childhood education and care.
- Alana Butler
- Gloria Boutte
- Terry Husband
- Rachel Berman
- Beverly Jean Daniel
- Zuhra Abawi
- Natalie Royer RECE
- Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg
- Mariana Souto-Manning