Separate is never equal - in education and in life.
Inclusion faces many challenges, and this is especially true for children with special needs, black children, indigenous children, and children of color. Many of these challenges are not overt acts of cruelty. Most are built into our systems for hiring teachers, funding schools, and designing programs that intend to personalize instruction so all children can receive FAPE, the Free and Public Education that all American children are guaranteed by law.
In our daily work with children, Learning Seeds develops strategies that make inclusion work so that all of our children can discover connection, joy, and independence together.
We do this work despite the logistics being much harder than just pulling kids out to receive special education services, or grouping children in a sub-separate clinic. We do this work because we believe that separate is never equal. All our children thrive when they are together.
Learning Seeds will recognize June 19th as a company holiday.
Learning Seeds makes all our decisions by asking: what is best for children? In this chaotic time, we feel closing for the day on short notice is too disruptive for children. Learning Seeds will recognize June 19th a day of justice work in education going forward.
We are grateful for brave activists for raising the urgency and awareness we need to reflect on freedom for children and our field and to help us read more, work more, and act more towards achieving true equality and freedom for all children.
Juneteenth is a celebration of America choosing equality.
The June 19th Proclamation that ended slavery for our country promises: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves".
As we reflect on the current state of "absolute equality", we notice:
Early childhood is the time in children's lives when we teach them to be fair, cooperate, play, and build community.
If we are serious about changing the social and emotional climate in our country for all children, part of the work begins by elevating the status, pay, practitioner-led leadership, and access to excellent early childhood education for all children, with a focus on closing gaps for children with diverse learning needs and black children, indigenous children, and children of color.
Beginning this Juneteenth, we will challenge ourselves to read, speak, learn, and advocate to realize social justice through early childhood education for all children.
We welcome your thoughts, questions, and advice on how we can lead this change together.
Erica Key, CLO and Founder of Learning Seeds, after honest dialogue with the entire team at Learning Seeds. Published June 19, 2020.