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Reimagining Our Work in a Time of Pandemic

by Ann Pelo and Margie Carter
July/August 2020
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/reimagining-our-work-in-a-time-of-pandemic/5025452/

As we write this in early May, attention is shifting toward “reopening” our social and cultural spaces after the restrictions enacted to address the pandemic. There is eager talk about “getting back to normal.” But the disruption of the pandemic has provided an opportunity to examine the notion of “normal” through a critical lens. What was normal in early childhood education in the United States, before the pandemic? 

A view of children as tomorrow’s workers rather than today’s citizens.

A suffocating press for school readiness, with data-driven mandates for outcomes.

An educational landscape so distorted by racism that play had become an issue of equity and social justice.

A gaping disparity between publicly- and privately-funded programs, in terms of the content and focus of children’s and teachers’ days, in which some children and teachers thrived with engaging pursuits, while others were tethered to prescriptive, soul-deadening curriculum.

Working conditions and salaries that forced teachers to work second jobs, left them facing mounting debt, and/or relying on public assistance to get by.

How did we allow ourselves to normalize any of this?

Surely, this is not what we long to return to.

What do we long for? What is our vision for children and ...

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