Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a federal holiday in the United States that commemorates the end of slavery in the country. It is celebrated on June 19th, which is the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and that all enslaved people in the state were free.
Juneteenth is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight for racial equality, but it is also a time to remember the work that still needs to be done. As an early childhood education (ECE) provider, we have a responsibility to teach our students about the history of Juneteenth and the contributions of Black leaders in ECE.
Otter Learning is proud to celebrate the diversity of our students, families, and employees. We are committed to providing high-quality early childhood education for all children, including those from diverse backgrounds, including Black children. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential, and we strive to create a learning environment where all children feel safe, respected, and supported.
In addition to our commitment to diversity among our students and families, we also prioritize diversity within our team. We actively seek team members who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, recognizing that it is through embracing different perspectives and ideas that we can continue to grow and innovate together.
At Otter Learning, our mission of creating a safe and nurturing environment for children from all backgrounds to grow and learn together extends to honoring Juneteenth and celebrating the remarkable contributions of Black leaders in early childhood education. By recognizing and uplifting the achievements of these leaders, we can work towards creating a brighter future for all children, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Join us in our celebration of diversity, inclusivity, and the achievements of Black leaders in early childhood education as we continue to fulfill our mission of providing exceptional education programs and fostering community relationships. Together, let's ensure that every child has access to the opportunities they deserve and let's grow together towards a more inclusive and equitable future.
Here are three examples of Black leaders who have made significant contributions to the field of ECE:
Fannie C. Williams was a Black educator who spent her career advocating for the rights of Black children. She opened nursery school and kindergarten classes in New Orleans, and she served as the principal of Valena C. Jones Elementary School, where she helped to improve the quality of education for Black students.Fannie C Williams Charter School
Dr. Edmund Gordon was a Black psychologist who conducted groundbreaking research on the development of Black children. His work helped to debunk the myth of Black inferiority, and it paved the way for more equitable educational opportunities for Black children. Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Evangeline Ward was a Black early childhood educator who developed the first code of ethics for early childhood professionals. Her work helped to establish the field of ECE as a profession, and it set the standard for high-quality early childhood education. Temple Digital Collections - Temple University
These are just a few examples of the many Black leaders who have made significant contributions to the field of ECE. As we celebrate Juneteenth, we should take the time to learn about their work and to honor their legacy.
In addition to acknowledging and celebrating influential Black ECE leaders from our past, here are some ways to commemorate Juneteenth either at home or in the classroom:
Read books about Juneteenth. There are many great books available that tell the story of Juneteenth in a way that is appropriate for young children.
Invite a speaker from your community. Invite a local Black leader to speak to your class about Juneteenth and the importance of racial equality.
Host an anti-racism event. Organize a parade or other event that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding.
Plan a field trip. Visit a local museum or historical site that has exhibits related to Juneteenth or the history of Black Americans.
By taking the time to learn about Juneteenth and the contributions of Black leaders in ECE, we can help our students to develop a deeper understanding of the history of our country and the importance of racial equality.