“Iowa of 2010 looked considerably different than Iowa of 2000. Despite modest overall growth, a variety of significant population shifts occurred within the state, especially among the state’s youngest residents and communities of color” (Iowa Kids Count Special Report, 2011).
If you have not noticed a change in the demographics of your community or the children you care for, chances are you will. The report shares that “all parts of Iowa are becoming more diverse and children are leading the way. Iowa has fewer white residents than it did in 2000 and significantly fewer white children. Iowa’s communities of color – in particular African-American and Latino – grew fast during the decade, and their child population grew fastest of all.”
Be sure to look at the data for your specific city on the KIDS COUNT data center website.
How welcoming is your program to children and families that might be from a different background than you? Do you have posters, books, materials and props that represent children and families from a variety of backgrounds in typical everyday activities? Check out this Head Start resource titled Same, Different and Diverse: Understanding Children Who Are Dual Language Learners. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this resource that shares actual video clips Embracing Diversity: Songs and Rhymes in 15 Languages.
As we approach the holiday time of year, I want to give you some food for thought as you think about your program’s approach with children and families -
“Child care professionals must make conscious decisions on how to celebrate holidays, just as they make conscious decisions on what snacks to serve or what physical activities to offer,” notes the National Network for Child Care (NNCC).
If you are an early childhood program administrator and want to think more on this topic, consider joining our DHS- & NAC-approved online class in May - Diversity in Early Care and Education: How Directors Can Support Staff in Honoring Differences
Share with us your strategies for being welcoming in a time of changing demographics – http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/childcare/demographics/
Further reading on this topic:
Bisson, J. (1997). Celebrate: An Anti-Bias Guide to Enjoying Holidays in Early Childhood Programs. St. Paul MN. Redleaf Press.
Derman-Sparks, L. & Edwards, J. O. (2010). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. Washington, D.C. NAEYC.
Derman-Sparks, L. & Ramsey, P. G. (2011). What If All the Kids Are White: Ant-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families. New York, N. Y. Teachers College Press.
Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2008). Diversity in Early Care and Education: Honoring Differences. Washington, D.C. NAEYC.
Shareef, I. & Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2008). Practice in Building Bridges: A Companion Resource to Diversity in Early Care and Education. Washington, D.C. NAEYC.
Environment, Family Relationships