In one of my classes, Early Childhood Systems, we were asked to write a blog describing what about early childhood public policy and advocacy that resonate with me. I wrote that Louise Sparks-Derman (Laureate Education, 2011) defined advocate as someone who speaks for the voiceless. I further wrote that she said, “…that the preschool years are critical; they are the first, most fundamental period where children are in fact noticing who they are and are noticing the attitudes of the stereotypes and the discomforts…that the teachers have a tremendous influence on their self-identities.” She (Laureate Education, Inc. 2010) also believes that we need “to fix the injustices that existed in the world.” Renatta M. Cooper (Laureate Education, Inc. 2010) commented, “I see early childhood education, all education, really, as a civil rights issue.”
The issues outlined by Louise Sparks-Derman and Renatta M. Cooper were intended for all of the children. Those issues are doubly more important for Deaf children who have normal capabilities to achieve but only if they have access to a full and visible language. That’s my motivation – to ensure that all Deaf children have equal opportunities to achieve all they can and want to in life.
To achieve this goal, I would need to be engaged on the macro level as we have discussed in the past couple of weeks. Engaging in developing public policies that would have positive outcomes for deaf children would be some of the macro activities. Many of those families would and could benefit from micro involvement from early childhood professionals. That could be language intervention services for the families; or accompanying a family with a Deaf child to a Deaf social event to ensure acculturation process for the family.
It would be difficult to find a community leader that would possess all of the important characteristics of an advocate. Hence, the community leader must have the ability to put together a group of advocates with certain skills that would complement each other. The community leader would also have excellent communication and listening skills. The community leader is a collaborator of all essential stakeholders like parents, early childhood professionals, advocacy groups, state/federal government entities, and legislators.
When our advocacy group has specific tasks, we ask those whom we know have particular skills to help. Usually, they get inspired to stay involved.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010) The passion for early childhood. Baltimore: Author