Little Chairs Big Differences
2019-2020 theme: Story and Voice
Transforming Ourselves and Our Learning Communities from the Inside Out
October 5, 2019
8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, NY
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin
Welcome to the 7th Annual Little Chairs Big Differences Conference!
In our daily work and interactions with children in our learning communities, we use stories to understand the world and our place in it. The stories we tell, who tells them and how we tell them can be a powerful tool in shaping our collective learning and experience. Our stories are embedded with and within systems of power and privilege. The power to explain and justify the status quo, as well as the power to make change imaginable and urgent.
Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of people. But stories can also repair the broken dignity. ~Chimamanda Adichie
As early childhood educarers (Resources for Infant Educaring. Retrieved from https://www.rie.org/) committed to social justice, we must ask: Which stories define us and our work? Where do these stories come from? Whose stories are ignored or erased in the telling of our own stories? How do we participate in and how are we impacted by narratives of power and privilege? And, most urgently: How do we challenge and change these narratives? What new stories can we tell to create the learning environments and experiences we desire?
We invite you to join us in exploring these and other questions at this year’s conference. To take notice and use our voices and stories in service to early childhood education liberation. Paulo Freire (1970) stated that a commitment to social justice requires a moral and ethical attitude toward equality and a belief in the capacity of people to transform their social world. Furthermore, he stated that to create social change and to promote social justice, we must begin this process with ourselves—through a self-reﬂective process that examines the contradictions between our espoused values and our lived experiences.
We believe that transformation begins inside of us. The stories we tell ourselves, those that hurt ourselves, or others, the stories that accept white supremacy, colonized thinking, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other hierarchies that oppress. We believe there are stories we have yet to create and tell, that increase accountability and create possibility.
This year we invite proposals for workshops about story and voice that connect to early childhood. We invite you to consider and share examples, perspectives and strategies from your own work that deconstruct narratives that are no longer relevant and/or oppressive, to expand our thinking and practice(s), to be more inclusive, and to nourish and create what is possible.
For proposals, we ask that you consider story and voice, inner transformation and outer work as they relate to privilege, power and practice. How we can use stories to tell the truth, to get unstuck and to create culture. Your proposals can be your own stories, fairy tales, trickster tales, community journeys and voices that led you here to learn, be accountable, transform and repair together.
This year our conference will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, NY from 9am-3pm. The conference is being offered on a Saturday to facilitate access for all participants.
Proposal submission is closed.
Accepted proposals and facilitators will be notified by September 16th, 2019
*We will be able to offer complimentary conference registration and an honorarium of $65
to each workshop presenter.
View our most recent newsletter here!
Little Chairs Big Differences was founded in 2013 by The Maple Street School, a small co-op preschool in Brooklyn, with the collaboration of Wendy Cole, Martha Haakmat, and Takiema Bunche-Smith. LCBD hosts a variety of events (workshops, panel discussions, celebrations...) and one major yearly conference that offer action-based and social justice-minded resources, support, professional learning, and community connection for those who work with young children.
As early childhood educators we are fundamentally involved in raising awareness and challenging perceptions and accepted norms for the youngest learners and those who work with them, yet we are often left out of larger conversations about identity and intersectionality. Through gatherings and events, Little Chairs Big Differences aims to create space for 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.