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Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms: A Response to Racism in America

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms: A Response to Racism in America

Presented by Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., Chief Research Innovation Officer & Director, HighScope Educational Research Foundation; Stephanie Curenton, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Boston University; Kerry-Ann Escayg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Tonia Durden, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Birth-Five Program Coordinator, Georgia State University

Sponsored by Kaplan Early Learning Company

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What if educators changed the world… one classroom at a time?

As our nation grieves, processes, reforms, and tries to heal from racial bias, violence, injustice, and oppression, educators have the opportunity and responsibility to respond by advancing equity out of love and empathy starting within their classroom. But how?

In this edWebinar, the lead authors of the newly released book, Don’t Look Away, Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms, participate in a roundtable discussion on how to explore and address issues of bias, equity, low expectations, and family engagement to ensure culturally responsive experiences. Equipped with the tools and strategies to promote classroom change, educators will be empowered to do the following:

  • Learn how institutional racism becomes present in early childhood environments
  • Discover how implicit bias, microaggression, and white privilege can play a role in undermining the learning experiences of marginalized Black and brown children and those who teach them
  • Embrace anti-bias and anti-racist teaching approaches
  • Implement best practices for creating culturally-rich and supportive classroom environments that protect children from social-emotional and psychological trauma by affirming personal healing

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to preK through elementary teachers, school and district leaders, coaches, trainers, and childcare providers, owners, and administrators.


Iheoma IrukaAbout the Presenters

Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is the Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of The Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation. Dr. Iruka is engaged in projects and initiatives focused on how evidence-informed policies, systems, and practices in early education can support the optimal development and experiences of low-income and ethnic minority children, such as through family engagement and support, quality rating and improvement systems, and early care and education systems and programs. She has been engaged in addressing how best to ensure excellence for young diverse learners, especially Black children, such as through the development of a classroom observation measure, examination of non-traditional pedagogical approaches, public policies, and publications geared towards early education practitioners and policymakers.


Stephanie CurentonStephanie M. Curenton, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor at the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. She studies the social, cognitive, and language development of low-income and minority children within various ecological contexts, such as parent-child interactions, early childhood education programs, early childhood workforce programs, and related state and federal policies.


Kerry-Ann EscaygKerry-Ann Escayg, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Dr. Escayg’s research focuses on anti-racism in early childhood education as well as children and race. As a social theorist, Dr. Escayg has utilized central tenets of Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Thought, and Anti-racist Education to offer incisive exegeses on children’s racial attitudes, including strategies to promote positive racial identity among Black children; a research-derived protocol to assess how children express their racialized beliefs through play; and an anti-racist approach to U.S early childhood education. Her recent publications on anti-racism highlight and interrogate the ways in which whiteness, as a system of racial privilege, functions in early childhood contexts. Central to Dr. Escayg’s work is a commitment to racial equity in the early years and the holistic well-being of children of color, and Black children in particular.


Tonia DurdenTonia Durden, Ph.D., is a Clinical Associate Professor and Birth-5 Program Coordinator within the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University. Dr. Durden’s areas of expertise focus on exploring how to develop and support African American children’s socio-cultural and create racially equitable learning experiences for children of color. As a teacher educator and researcher, the focus of her work includes also preparing pre-service and in-service teachers to become culturally competent master teachers. Furthermore, Dr. Durden’s professional work and scholarship can be categorized into three core areas of focus: Early Childhood Education (curriculum and program development); racial educational equity (research to professional practice); and Early Childhood Systems Engagement (strategic partnerships and equitable systems building). Dr. Durden is committed to using teacher education and research as an informative vehicle towards helping develop educators and leaders who become culturally responsive change agents and advocates in their classrooms and communities.

To participate in the live edWebinar, log in with current version of Google Chrome or install the meeting app prior to the edWebinar on your computer, your Apple device, or Android device.  If you have a firewall in your location, you can participate on your mobile device using your cellular data (not your local network).

Kaplan Early LearningKaplan Early Learning Company is a leading international provider of products and services that enhance children’s learning.

Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms Kaplan


Wednesday, July 8, 2020
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT
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