Attitudes develop early so that’s why anti-bias experiences are a necessity for toddlers. Around 80% of our brain's connections are formed before the age of 3.
Having said that, I don’t want to put the weight of the world on parents and early childhood teachers right now because you’ve been through enough in the last couple of years. In fact, I want to make this fun!
I’m going to throw 9 months' worth of ideas out there for the next 9 weeks. Use a few of the ideas or all of the ideas, just do something, please. Our future world depends on it.
Music For Us!
For the first month of our journey, I’m going to focus on music and its uncanny ability to bring us together in unexpected ways.
Here’s an idea for the teachers out there but parents and homeschoolers can easily adapt it to their own needs.
Ask the parents in your program or everyone you know to supply you with an example of music they like to listen to in their families. Then all you have to do is have an open mind and enjoy.
Encourage cultural and interesting music with an attitude of acceptance and fun. Instead of saying you don’t care for a certain genre of music, think about a way in which it could be useful. Instead of saying a certain song is boring you to death, you might want to reframe that and say you might use this music to relax or go to sleep.
You can move to the music, if you want, you can clean up to the music or you can play to the music. You could try painting to the music or learning a song in a new language. Play freeze dance with no winners and losers.
Here's a list of 15 of my favorite cultural music and movement songs. Most of these were discovered by talking to people around me and sharing what I learned with children.
El Coqui --->>
A lullaby from Puerto Rico
a lullaby in French and English
a dance tune
positive hip-hop song
Simba, Simba --->
Latin style pop
Make sure to actually make connections with the music you play and the people you know.
For example, a woman from Barcelona worked here with the kids and she brought in some Catalan music to share. Another Mom was a Yoga teacher and she introduced us to Little Yoga Clock. We live in a community with many Hmong people and I've seen the traditional dances performed live many times.
So, ask a nosy question and learn something about another culture. Music is the perfect gateway to do this!
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.
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I really want to share one last activity with you. It’s a cool anti-bias and anti-bully activity that fits right in with Halloween.
If you’ve never heard of the book “Spookley The Square Pumpkin” It’s time to look it up at the library or the bookstore. I’m including a link to a reading of it on youtube so you can check it out.