Little Kids Are Not Stupid

My name is Jennifer Keys Adair. This is my idea for a core conversation session at SXSW Interactive 2015. I'm an early childhood professor trying to get more sophisticated online content delivery for pre and early readers. If kids want to learn about whales or tornadoes or honey production or queens - where do they go? Little Kids are not Stupid: Give them Content!

Read More

How the Word Gap Argument Negatively Impacts Young Children of Latinx Immigrants’ Conceptualizations of Learning

Early childhood education in grades preK–3 continues to contribute to future school success. Discrimination, however, can still be an obstacle for many children of Latinx immigrants because they often receive less sophisticated and dynamic learning experiences than their white, native-born peers. Drawing on empirical work with more than two hundred superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents, and young children, they recount how caring, experienced educators explained that Latinx immigrant students could not handle dynamic, agentic learning experiences because they lacked vocabulary and how the children in those classrooms said that learning required still, obedient, and quiet bodies. Rather than blaming educators, the authors share this empirical evidence to demonstrate the harm that can come from denying young children a range of sophisticated learning experiences, especially when institutionally and publicly justified by deficit-oriented research and thinking. Using the work of Charles Mills, the authors argue that such a denial of experience to children of Latinx immigrants and other marginalized communities is discriminatory and, too often, the status quo. 

Read More

The Impact of Discrimination on the Early Schooling Experiences of Children from Immigrant Families

How young children of immigrants experience their early school years may in large part determine their academic future and negatively affect their emotional, social, and mental development. Children benefit from a positive, supportive learning environment where their contributions are valued; many from immigrant families, however, experience discrimination in school during their early, impressionable years.

Read More

Harvard Educational Review

Agency and Expanding Capabilities in Early Grade Classrooms: What It Could Mean for Young Children is about using the concept of agency as a tool for improving the educational experiences of young children in the early grades. Agency in the context of schooling is the ability to influence what and how something is learned in order to expand capabilities. This article uses economic theories of human development, agency, and capability (Amartya Sen, Mahbub ul Haq) to think carefully about what young children need in their early schooling years. Classroom examples of agency demonstrate the need for parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers to encourage dynamic, agentic learning experiences for all children, not just those of privilege.

Read More