Little Chairs Big Differences Annual Conference 2018

Brave and Creative:

Early Childhood Practices For a Just World

October 17, 2018

8:30am-3:30pm

at

Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, NY

To decide on a theme for our sixth annual conference this year, we came together as a committee to envision what creates compassionate and playful early childhood care and education. What are the stories we all have and what are the stories we all tell? What is the art we create, the dances we do, the songs we sing, the food we cook, the play we play?

We are putting the practice before the theory this year.

Together we learn and grow towards empowerment when taking risks, being vulnerable, and being brave. We know that in order to have real empathy for children who are stretching and struggling every day, we need to understand what it feels like to stretch and struggle through different perspectives.

It’s in the act of having to do things that you don’t want to

that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego. ~bell hooks

We want to practice this deep work, play, creative expression to have the courageous conversations to bring back into our centers, families and communities. We want to explore our shared histories, ‘funds of knowledge,’ and lived experiences that make our wisdom traditions.

Join us in Brooklyn for a one-day conference designed to bring together people who love and work with young children, birth to 8 years old, in various capacities.  

In order to grow a just community and culture, we must practice, play, create and be brave ourselves. We are hoping that at this conference all the voices in the early childhood community are heard and and everyone is seen. That experiences are honored and wisdom is celebrated.

Join us on October 17, 2018, in our sixth year of Little Chairs, Big Differences, to practice bravery and creativity for a more just world. This world is one where we have everyday conversations and creations about race, gender, ability, class to learn and teach ourselves and the children we work with.

Little Chairs Big Differences 2017

BELONGING

This year Little Chairs Big Differences Early Childhood Diversity Conference is focusing on the theme of belonging, in its broadest sense. As members of the early childhood education community, we are well aware of the importance of belonging with respect to our young students. It is also an important element of our own professional practice and peer community. In order to build a just community and culture, people must feel that they belong. As a school administrator, who belongs in your schools? As a teacher, who belongs in your classrooms? As a childcare provider, who belongs in your care space?

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Little Chairs Big Differences and Maple Street School Present: Children's Racial Justice Conference

For Children and Their Grown-Ups Ages 4-8

Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the Maple Street School

Keynote Speaker: Mari Copeny, AKA Little Miss Flint, Age 10

Workshops included: For Grownups: "Moving Forward Community—Taking Responsibility Together/Walking the Talk," For Children of Color: "Me and Self Love," For White Children: "What is my role? How do I play a part?" For Grownups: "Making Race an Everyday Conversation"

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LCBD 2018 Series: Belonging in Our Communities

Sat. Jan. 27, 2018, 10am-12pm at Brooklyn New School, PS 146

This year Little Chairs Big Differences Early Childhood Diversity Conference is focusing on the theme of belonging, in its broadest sense. As members of the early childhood education community, we are well aware of the importance of belonging with respect to our young students. It is also an important element of our own professional practice and peer community. In order to build a just community and culture, people must feel that they belong. As a school administrator, who belongs in your schools? As a teacher, who belongs in your classrooms? As a childcare provider, who belongs in your care space?

Little Chairs Big Difference Series Part 1: Belonging in our Communities

This event is part of our 2018 LCBD Series: Belonging. This event will focus on Belonging in Our Communities, with two simultaneous workshops to choose from.

  • What Are You?: Engaging Families of Multiracial Children in Preschool with Makai Kellogg

  • Working With Caregivers In Our Communities with Hand in Hand  and Niko Bialek

2017 Conference: "Belonging"

at Weeksville Heritage Center

in Bed Stuy Brooklyn, NY.

October 18, 2017 8:30am-3pm

  Little Chairs Big Differences 5th Annual Early Childhood Education Diversity Conference

Little Chairs Big Differences 5th Annual Early Childhood Education Diversity Conference

As early childhood educators we are often left out of larger conversations about identity and intersectionality, yet we are fundamentally involved in raising awareness and challenging perceptions and accepted norms for the youngest learners and those who work with them.  This conference is a means of both celebrating and going deeper into this work, broadening our understanding, and being more action-oriented toward creating a more just society and world.

We gathered in Brooklyn for a one-day conference designed to bring together people who love and work with young children, birth to 6 years old, in various capacities. 

The four essential components of young children’s first experiences are belonging (connectedness to others, being valued, and making contributions as part of a group), well-being (physical and mental health and wellness), engagement (being involved, inquiring and focused), and expression (to be heard, as well as to listen). -- via Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years

This year Little Chairs Big Differences Early Childhood Diversity Conference is focussed on the theme of belonging, in its broadest sense. As members of the early childhood education community, we are well aware of the importance of belonging with respect to our young students. It is also an important element of our own professional practice and peer community. In order to build a just community and culture, people must feel that they belong. As a school administrator, who belongs in your schools? As a teacher, who belongs in your classrooms? As a childcare provider, who belongs in your care space?

On October 18, 2017, in our fifth year of Little Chairs, Big Differences, we gathered to create and feel belonging, explore race conscious classrooms and communities, present, listen to and understand voices of us as caregivers and other marginalized groups, create more inclusive environments, advocate for access and affordability, and respond to and prevent violence against people of color, lgbtq, people with disabilities, people in poverty and other marginalized groups. We are awake and know this work of creating a space for belonging begins early so that we can create a better path...not a cradle to prison pipeline, but one of potential and possibility for all of our youngest children.  

This conference is by us, for us.

Keynote speaker: Carla Shalaby

Closing Ceremony: Alakande! Spread Joy!

Facilitators and Presenters:

LCBD Event: February 1, 2017

Imani Uzuri's Revolutionary Choir in Collaboration with Little Chairs Big Differences

Imani Uzuri. Photo by Shawn Lee

Songs of Protest and Freedom in Communities that Serve Young Children with Imani Uzuri's Revolutionary Choir

Imani Uzuri is a vocalist, composer and cultural worker who has been called "a post-modernist Bessie Smith" by The Village Voice. She composes and researches music that reflects her rural North Carolina roots where she grew up singing Spirituals and line-singing hymns with her grandmother and extended family.

She has recently been praised in the New York Times for her "stirring" music and her "gorgeously chesty ruminations". Uzuri creates concerts, experimental theater, performance art, theater compositions and sound installations in international venues/festivals including Lincoln Center Out of Doors, New York’s Central Park SummerStage, Joe’s Pub, Public Theater, Performa Biennial, France’s Festival Sons d’hiver, Met Breuer, London’s ICA, and MoMA. Uzuri has also collaborated with a wide range of noted artists across various artistic disciplines including musicians Herbie Hancock, John Legend, Vijay Iyer; visual artist Wangechi Mutu; conceptual artists Carrie Mae Weems, Sanford Biggers; choreographer Trajal Harrell; poet Sonia Sanchez and composer Robert Ashley.

Uzuri is composer and co-lyricist for the new musical GIRL Shakes Loose, selected for the 2016 O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. She was a Park Avenue Armory Artist-In-Residence in 2015-2016 and was recently awarded a Map Fund to begin composing her contemporary opera Hush Arbor. In 2016 Uzuri made her Lincoln Center American Songbook debut as well as being a featured performer onBET for Black Girls Rock. She is currently a 2016-17 Jerome Foundation Composer/Sound Artist Fellow. 

Uzuri recently received her Master of Arts from Columbia University in African American studies researching the liturgy, performativity and "subversive salvation" of New Orleans based street preacher, visual artist, musician and mystic Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900-1980). She has written essays for The Feminist Wire and Ebony and her work is currently included inthe anthology BAX 2016: Best American Experimental Writing. 

Uzuri is the founder and artistic director of Revolutionary Choir —community singing gatherings formed to teach historical and new protest/freedom songs of resistance and resilience .www.imaniuzuri.com

2016 Conference: "Call and Response"

at Weeksville Heritage Center

in Bed Stuy Brooklyn, NY.

Call and Response is a form of interaction that resonates both with early education professionals and with social justice advocates throughout the ages. Through call and response, we can build communities and culture where all children, families, teachers and caregivers have a voice, are heard, and have impact.

 Morning Yoga with Rachel Costello of  Yo Re Mi

Morning Yoga with Rachel Costello of Yo Re Mi

 Morning keynote speakers Rashida Bumbray and Rashid Shabazz

Morning keynote speakers Rashida Bumbray and Rashid Shabazz

 Part of Little Chairs Big Differences Planning Committee: Martha Haakamat, Makalé Faber-Cullen, Wendy Cole and Marisa Wallin 

Part of Little Chairs Big Differences Planning Committee: Martha Haakamat, Makalé Faber-Cullen, Wendy Cole and Marisa Wallin 

 Closing speaker Wade Colwell-Sandoval

Closing speaker Wade Colwell-Sandoval

 Bobby Ann's Quilting Pop-up with Barbara Culbreath

Bobby Ann's Quilting Pop-up with Barbara Culbreath

 Mahesha and Makalé quilt

Mahesha and Makalé quilt

Presenters for 2016 Conference

Jacqueline Barton is an early childhood educator with 23 years experience teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten. She enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors, especially with young children. [Walking Together in the Woods: How can time spent in nature help build an inclusive community at school and why don’t we do more of it?]

Amy Binin has taught early childhood in the NYC public school system since 1988.Teaching continues to be fresh as each student and year brings new excitement and creativity. When not teaching, Amy enjoys playing her flute and taking long walks. [Walking Together in the Woods: How can time spent in nature help build an inclusive community at school and why don’t we do more of it?]

Rashida Bumbray is a curator and choreographer living and working in New York. She currently serves as the Senior Program Manager at Open Society Foundations for the Arts Exchange, an experimental campaign to mainstream arts for social justice within the foundations globally. Previously, Bumbray was the Director of Artistic Affairs at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. From 2012-2014, Bumbray was guest curator at Creative Time for the public art exhibition Funk, God, Jazz and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn (2014). From 2006 to 2011, Bumbray served as Associate Curator at The Kitchen, where she organized several critically acclaimed projects and commissions, including solo exhibitions by Leslie Hewitt, Simone Leigh, Adam Pendleton, and Mai Thu Perret as well as performances by Derrick Adams, Sanford Biggers, Kalup Linzy, and Mendi & Keith Obadike among others. Bumbray began her career as Curatorial Assistant at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she co-founded the ongoing lobby sound installation StudioSound and Hoofers’ House, a monthly jam session for tap dancers — now called Shim Sham. At the Studio Museum she coordinated major exhibitions, including Energy Experimentation: African-American Artists 1964–1980, with Kellie Jones. Bumbray has published texts on various topics pertaining to contemporary art, Africana studies and comparative literature.

Bumbray earned her BA in African American Studies and Theater & Dance from Oberlin College and her MA in Africana Studies from New York University with a focus on Contemporary Art and Performance Studies. A critically acclaimed choreographer, her work has been presented by SummerStage, Harlem Stage, Caribbean Cultural Center, Project Row Houses, Weeksville Heritage Center & at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was nominated for the prestigious Bessie Award (NY Dance & Performance Awards) for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer in 2014. [Keynote Co-Speaker] Twitter: @sunrara

Wade Colwell-Sandoval is the co-founder of Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!), an arts-based, experiential and inter-generational process of transformational stewardship of our school communities. As an educator engaging the creative/cultural modalities of song, spoken-word, movement, ceremony and restorative circle keeping, Wade is a rising national voice for deepening relations across generation and difference. His touring multi-media performance Borderless, with musical partner Benjie Howard, is a folk & hip hop fused journey examining the intersections of race, class, identity, immigration, sexual orientation, gender and environmental & indigenous justice. He is co-founder/MC of pioneering academic hip hip duo Funkamentalz, lead facilitator/consultant with Corwin Press (Deep Equity and Student Aspirations) and lead restorative practices educator with NYC-based Counseling in Schools. Wade is also a founding poet laureate of Tucson Unified School District's Mexican-American / Raza Studies Department. [Closing Ceremony] Twitter: @funkamentalz

Dr. Sandra Chapman is Director of Equity and Community at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin Hight School (LREI) in NYC; works closely w/ faculty, admin., Board of Trustees, parents, and PRE K- 12 grade students to support school's diversity and equity mission; serves on Faculty of Diversity Leadership Institute- a week long training on social justice, equity, and inclusion led by National Assoc. of Independent Schools; Dissertation on racial-ethnic identity, family socialization, and academic engagement of Latino youth in NYC independent schools; Mother of children aged 12 and 16. [Can I Respond? Do I Respond? Supporting Educators with Anti-Bias Work] Twitter: @SKChap

Patricia M. (“Patsy”) Cooper is an Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood Education at Queens College, CUNY.  She is a former preschool and kindergarten teacher, and early childhood program director.  An experienced teacher and parent educator, Patsy’s pedagogical interests include effective teaching and parenting with regard to early literacy, the role of imaginative thinking in growing up smart, teaching multiculturally, and “fair teaching.”  Her scholarly work includes a focus on the work of early childhood icon Vivian Gussin Paley.  From 2012-2015, Patsy served as editor of the Journal for Early Childhood Teacher Education. [Practicing To Be Good: Helping Young Children Avoid Being Labeled as Difficult to Manage or Worse]

Rachel Costello is the co-founder of Yo Re Mi, a music and yoga enrichment program for children in NYC, and Yoga Builds, which provides professional development to school teachers and administrators working in PreK-12 and Special Needs classrooms. Rachel is Yoga Alliance certified (E-RYT200, RPYT, RCYT) with specialties in hatha, vinyasa, prenatal, postpartum and yoga for women, children and families. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their 2-year old son. [Optional Morning Yoga Practice] Twitter: @yoremiKIDS

Sala Cyril is the the current Director of Little Maroons Childcare Cooperative, an African-centered cooperative preschool in Brooklyn. She was invited to be the school's first teacher in 2005. She has since taken on the responsibility of providing culturally relevant education to members of the community by continuing its vision and licensing the school as a Group Family Daycare. She is a mother, artist, political activist and educator. [Freedom Fighting Education]

Chiara Di Lello is a third grade co-teacher at Compass Charter School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn; Master's in General and Special Ed from Bank Street College of Ed. while assistant teacher at the School for Children; Master's thesis research centered on educators implementing anti-bias practice in progressive settings; Museum Educator at the Guggenheim Museum and other institutions; Specialized in teaching students with special needs and creating a more equitable museum experience for all learners. [Can I Respond? Do I Respond? Supporting Educators with Anti-Bias Work] Twitter: @thetinydynamo

Rachel Ehrlich is an anti-bias educator. She attended Hampshire College and received a B.A. in Urban Studies from New College of California. She has an M.S.W. in Clinical Social Work from Smith College and a M.A. in Social Justice Education from UMass Amherst. She is working toward a PhD in Urban Education at the CUNY Grad Center. Her dissertation focuses on educational policy, teacher’s unions, and racial and class inequity. She regularly consults with public and private school teachers/administrators on social justice education, diversity, and inclusion. At the Fieldston Ethical Culture School she is the chair of the Ethics Department 6-12th grades, a College Counselor, and teaches courses focused on power and social justice. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife Jill, son August, and bulldog Gilda. [The Power of Language Privilege in Communicating Our Stories - A Queer Perspective]

Zuleika Fertullien Zuleika is the Executive Director and Founder of Beyond Basic Learning: The International School, the first nursery school in Hoboken, New Jersey awarded the Torch of Excellence by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the first to implement the Smartboard Technology at the pre-school level. Her vision for this state-of-the-art nursery school is rooted in supporting each child’s growth and development through inquiry, exploration and hands-on learning. The success of the program is further enriched through the high involvement of parents, grandparents and extended family members who collectively represent over 20 different countries. [Do you know me? Because I know who you are.] Twitter: @Zuleika_BBLI

Jennifer Fleming teaches Pre-K at Brooklyn New School where she has been a special education teacher for 8 years and, before that, a teaching artist for 11 years. Jennifer spends her summers at Camp Winnarainbow in California, creating performances with children focusing on social justice and self-confidence. [Walking Together in the Woods: How can time spent in nature help build an inclusive community at school and why don’t we do more of it?]

Bill Fulbrecht is a retired kindergarten teacher with 20 years experience. Now an early childhood education consultant, Bill has focused on helping develop the outdoor programs for Pre-K and K at BNS. [Walking Together in the Woods: How can time spent in nature help build an inclusive community at school and why don’t we do more of it?]

John Gentile is a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion practitioner focusing on whiteness, white identity development, and white privilege. He has worked with many prestigious educational institutions and organizations. He has lead workshops, facilitated dialogues and affinity groups, trained faculty, and has been featured as a keynote speaker. He has presented at the Critical Analysis of Race in Learning and Education (CARLE) Institute and the Immigrant Justice Corps in New York City. He has worked with the YWCA of the City of New York as a facilitator around identity development. He is a founding committee member for the conference, (Re)defining Power: White Male Voices in Diversity Work, a conference for 6th to 12th grade white males students wanting to explore their role in equity and justice work. He has been a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools' Student Diversity Leadership Conference since 2009. He was the recipient of The Princeton Prize for Race Relations in 2007. John is currently a Diversity Associate for Horace Mann School in New York City. [The Power of Language Privilege in Communicating Our Stories - A Queer Perspective]

Colleen Goddard, Ph.D. Child Development Specialist Beginnings Nursery School and The Brooklyn Schoolhouse Adjunct Professor @ Brooklyn College, Hunter College and The NYU CDA Program; over 22 years experience in early childhood education; received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute in 2009; received a Parent’s Choice Award for Excellence in Educational Programming for a film she wrote and performed in, which addresses the social-emotional and psychological aspects of childhood cancer; worked as a contributing writer for the New York State Early Learning Guidelines as part of the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council and has been published by Psychology Today Online and Changing Minds.Org [The Power of Transitional Objects as Story and Metaphor within Early Childhood Classrooms as Influenced by Indigenous People - Inclusive of Intercultural Communication, Diversity and Social Justice]

Jen Longley, Ed. D. is Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Dept. of Borough of Manhattan Community College; over 25 years experience working with families with young children; worked at Head Start, programs for children with disabilities, nursery schools, day cares, Dept. of Ed., teacher and administrator, M.S. Ed from Bank Street College of Ed, Ed.D from Seton Hall University [Calling Out Families: How to Engage with Diverse Families]

Charles Puckette was a parent chaperone every week for the first year of Forest School at BNS. He became a paraprofessional this year to continue working with Pre-K in the woods. [Walking Together in the Woods: How can time spent in nature help build an inclusive community at school and why don’t we do more of it?]

Rashid Shabazz serves as Vice President of Communications for the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (the Campaign). The Campaign spun-off from the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs with a 5-year support grant of $10 million in February 2015. Shabazz had joined the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs staff in March 2009 as a Program Officer with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement – an initiative focused on addressing the exclu- sion of large numbers of black men and boys from economic, social, educational, and political life in the United States. Prior to joining Open Society, Shabazz served as Senior Account Executive with Fenton Communications working on One Nation, a national initiative to shape public perception of American Muslims. With over 20 years of experience as a grassroots media and com- munications organizer, he has also been a contributing writer to several publications. Shabazz is most recently featured in the new books, “Question Bridge: Black Males In America” and “Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding.” He holds a B.A. in English from George Mason University, an M.A. in African studies from Yale University and an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and daughter. [Keynote Co-Speaker]

Mshairi Siyanda is an Atlanta native who is currently residing in New York and is the lead teacher at Little Maroons Childcare Cooperative. She majored in African American Studies at Georgia State University and is a passionate early childhood educator. She began her career in early childhood education at an African centered preschool in Atlanta, then continued on her career path in New Orleans. She has consulted with the Louisiana Endowment for Humanities Prime Time family reading program as a trainer and advocate for early childhood literacy. Mshairi is one of the founding members of The Nalo Movement, an Atlanta based theater collective. She is also one of the founding members of Wildseeds Octavia Butler Emergent Strategies collective in New Orleans and an active member of The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. She practices ARTivism as a poet, writer, educator and artist who is committed to social justice as a proud Black feminist and nationalist. [Freedom Fighting Education]

2015 Conference: Play is Not a Luxury

Location: Brooklyn Children's Museum

Workshops

Session 1:

Are You a Boy or a Girl?

Play-Based Learning in Brownsville

Thought as Practice in Early Childhood

Nourishing Habitats for Dramatic Play

Session 2:

Descriptive Review of a Child's Work

Talking About Race

Empower Half Hour

How to Keep Play in Kindergarten

Instant Song

Session 3:

Un-Blocked!

Play in the Math Classroom

Emergent Curriculum

Can my Princess Have Brown Skin?

Playful Teaching Practice

 

2014 Conference: Inspire, Challenge, Connect

Location: Brooklyn Heights Montessori School

 
 
 

2013 Conference: Little Chairs Big Differences

Location: Maple Street School