Previous Courageous Conversations

The Courageous Conversations series is hosted by the New York AEYC DEI Committee and will be recorded for future trainings and follow-up conversations surrounding DEI work.

Because of the success of our town hall series and a grant award from NAEYC funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, we will be holding a series of Courageous Conversations this summer, delving deeper into topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. All sessions are fully virtual.

Previous Conversations

2022 Conversations with Recordings

Your DEI Journey

The work of diversity, equity, and inclusion as an early childhood educator is a lifelong journey of learning, reflection, and action. In this conversation, participants will share their experience on this journey, including successes and challenges. Participants will be encouraged to understand that even those who have been mindful of antiracism, equity, and inclusion for many years can still perpetuate harm on others. We will also recognize the compounding impact these harms inflict on those of us whose identities are marginalized in our culture due to their race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, language, national origin, indigenous heritage, religion, and other identities. We will reflect on why it is so important to be mindful of the impact of trauma in ourselves and others, as well as recognizing the ways implicit bias manifests in the real world. Participants will be given tools and reflections to carry with them as they continue on their journey in this work.

Presenters: Reeshemah Brightley, Barry Walston, and Earl Greene

How to Embrace LGBTQIA+ Families & Staff in Early Childhood Settings

Presented by: Jennifer Longley, Ed.D.

This participatory and interactive workshop will continue the NYAEYC Courageous Conversation “Embracing LGBTQIA+ Families & Staff in Early Childhood Settings” that began in July 2021. Participants will explore how to create or adapt early childhood environments to embrace LGBTQIA+ families and staff. This will include examining the physical space, climate, policies, and procedures. Attendees will develop a tool kit of strategies to embrace LGBTQIA+ families and staff that can be implemented in their programs.

Advancing equity through advocacy in early childhood communities

Presented by: Jamaica Miles and Barnabas Crosby 

Every member of the early childhood community has a role in advancing equity for children, families, and the early childhood programs that support them. This Courageous Conversation will explore:
What does advocating for equity in early childhood education look like? Who should see themselves as an advocate?
How can early educators, directors, and those whose work intersects with early childhood education embed principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into their practice? How does that relate to support for the whole child and family in the context of their environment?
What role can parents and families play in early childhood advocacy for equity? Why should families participate in advocacy to improve compensation for early childhood educators alongside advocacy for more affordable child care? How can early childhood educators begin to have these conversations with the families they serve?

Supporting Children and Adults with Disabilities – NYAEYC Courageous Conversations

Presented byL Cecilia Scott-Croff, Ed.D.

How can early learning and care programs cultivate equitable, supportive, and inclusive environments for children and adults with disabilities? Participants will be encouraged to examine training, policies, and institutional changes needed to successfully support children and adults with both visible and “invisible” disabilities in early learning settings. This Courageous Conversation will challenge negative narratives regarding inclusion in under-resourced early childhood programs and urge participants to think beyond inclusion in order to foster a sense of belonging.

Cultivating Leadership

Presented by: Iheoma Iruka, PhD & Carol Brunson Day, PhD

As we look to the future of early childhood education, we must ensure that the leaders who shape that future are more diverse and representative of the early childhood education profession than they have been historically. This conversation will explore the intergenerational nature of the work of cultivating leadership, emphasizing the important expertise and perspectives brought to the work by those whose voices have been historically marginalized. We will discuss the need to break down implicit biases and structural barriers that often stand in the way of effective new leadership, as well as the ways in which we can cultivate leadership within ourselves.

2021 Conversations

Understanding & Supporting Gender Diversity in Early Childhood Education

Presented by: Dr. Jen Longley, ED.D.

This conversation will discuss topics of gender diversity in early childhood education settings, including understanding and supporting young children as they explore their gender identities, breaking down gendered stereotypes that may present themselves in the classroom, creating supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ families and staff, and supporting families who may be skeptical or concerned about their children’s participation in activities they perceive to be gendered. 

The Role of Men in Early Childhood Education

Moderated by: Barry Walston, M.S.W.
Panel: Azeez Alimi, Dante Springer, Gerald B. Sweeney, Esq., Reuben Quansh, and Christian Ramirez

In this conversation, a panel of male professionals who work and volunteer in the field of early childhood education will discuss the reasons they were called to work that impacts the lives of young children, as well as stereotypes and barriers they have encountered in this work. Panelists will discuss the importance of the presence of men in early childhood spaces for the development of young children with emphasis on creating positive environments for the development of young Black boys. The conversation will also touch on the importance of creating welcoming and inclusive early childhood environments for male family members.

Over time, access to early childhood education, stigmas attached to needing child care, and the definition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice have changed, evolved, and brought us to where we are today. These issues have always been shaped by structural racism, sexism, and classism, and continue to be impacted by these forces today. In this conversation, we will discuss the history of early childhood education in the United States and the ways both historical remnants and new forces of racism persist in our field today. We will also situate Developmentally Appropriate Practice in its cultural moment, understanding that it is not fixed but evolves as our understanding of child development deepens.

Presenters: Cecilia Scott-Croff, Denisha Jones, and Iheoma Iruka, Ph.D.

Supporting the development of the whole child is an essential part of early childhood education. In this conversation, a panel of experts will discuss the intersecting systems that touch a child’s life and the role of early childhood educators in partnering with families by connecting them with existing resources, recognizing and mitigating trauma, and seeing and supporting the whole child. Participants will learn how factors such as hunger, language barriers, trauma, low wage work, unpredictable schedules, housing discrimination, access to healthcare, and environmental racism impact the family and child.

Discussing the Experiences of Early Childhood Students (Students Only)
Tuesday, October 12; 6:30-8:30pm
Presented by: Jennifer Gilken and Leslie Craigo, PhD

In this conversation, early childhood education students from all levels (from CDA through graduate school) will come together discuss their experiences. Students will be encouraged to share methods their programs or individual teacher educators have used to support their success. We will reflect on the ways in which higher education still needs to evolve to enable incoming early childhood educators to embrace and uplift increasingly diverse young children.
Together, we will unpack the barriers to achieving success in higher education for parent, first generation, nontraditional, working, and immigrant students in higher education settings. We will also discuss the process of transitioning from one level of education to the next, and how this process can be improved for students. This information will be anonymously shared with faculty in a follow-up session to encourage them to reflect on their teaching practice and the practices of their departments as a whole.

Teacher Educators and the Experiences of Early Childhood Students
(Open to higher education faculty and CDA)
Tuesday, October 19; 4:30-6:30pm
Presented by: Earl Greene and Stacey Smith-Clark

In this conversation, we will learn from the experiences shared by early childhood education students in our conversation on October 12. A small panel of students will share their reflections from our initial call. We will delve into the concerns students have shared with us as they strive to successfully complete their programs and feel prepared to educate and nurture the children in challenging and changing circumstances. This will be followed by a guided discussion on the supports that students highlighted to be the most helpful or as a missing but crucial component of their continuing education.

Back to Top