We speak with Michele Washington, longtime early childhood lecturer at Lehman College, about expertise at the preschool level. Head Start, pre-K, and 3-K teachers can support children and families in myriad ways once parents or guardians trust them. Cultural humility is essential;  teachers need to understand and respect their children’s families and communities.


00:00-00:57 Intros

00:57-02:26 Why are early childhood educators undervalued?

02:26-03:10 Major crises in early childhood

03:10-03:57 UPK and 3-K (NYC)

03:57-05:01 Losing teachers to Department of Education schools

05:01-05:59 Teachers’ relationships with families

05:59-08:08 Knowing students’ communities

08:08-10:20 A deficit lens and overcoming it

10:20-12:04 Transition from working with 3- and 4-year olds to infants and toddlers

12:04-16:16 Early childhood as “women’s work”

16:16-18:30 Culturally responsive education

18:30-20:13 Graduate schools and culturally responsive education

20:13-22:47 Ethical decision-making for early childhood educators

22:47-25:25 Being a second home

25:25-27:43 Responding when there is a serious disagreement between a teacher and a parent or guardian

27:43-29:01 Outro


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 

Soundtrack by Podington Bear