2020 Symposium on Children

Join us for the Crane Center’s 7th annual


Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Practices in Early Childhood Education

DATE: Friday, October 2   •   TIME: 11:00am–3:15pm (EST)   •   DETAILS: Free, virtual (Zoom) event open to all


High-quality early care and education promises to help young children get started on the right foot, realizing their innate potential to learn and grow. However, just like every other facet of American society, early care and education is plagued by racial inequities and injustice and requires our urgent attention. The well-being of all children, especially those who are non-white, is at stake. As terrible as the COVID-19 pandemic has been for our communities, it has brought to light the urgency of quality care and education for all young children as well as the glaring inequities that have long existed in a system that is fractured along racial and economic lines. As we look at solutions for building a stronger set of early childhood programs and policies, we must lead, discuss, collaborate, legislate, research, teach, and problem-solve with anti-bias and anti-racist (ABAR) practices and equity at the forefront.

This year’s (newly virtual!) Symposium for Children will dive deep into anti-bias and anti-racist practices for early childhood settings, led by renowned researchers and practitioners in this field, and provide actionable solutions toward equity.

The half-day event will also examine what policies and practices can be implemented now in order to eliminate racial bias and ensure equity of opportunity for all of our young children. Led by keynote speaker and author of a new book on anti-bias and anti-racist practices in early education, Dr. Iheoma U. Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation, will engage with us on how we can embrace anti-bias and anti-racist practices. Participants will then opt into a breakout discussion before coming back together to hear about practitioner best practices and policy leaders’ vision for early childhood equity. Join us for part or all of this free, half-day event.


*all times are shown in Eastern Standard Time



Dr. Laura Justice, Executive Director of the Schoenbaum Family Center and Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

Tanny Crane, President and Chief Executive Officer of Crane Group

Dean Donald Pope-Davis, PhD, College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University



Addressing Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Practices in Early Childhood Education

The shootings and killings of Black people remind us that racism is the fabric of the US and early education is not immune from this oppressive system. Addressing inequities and ensuring wellbeing in the early years requires us going beyond gazing at test scores and blaming children and families, and many times early educators. A sole focus on gaps without consideration of the causes will ensure the permanency of this gap. This talk will delve into how best early education can be of service to children, families, and communities by dismantling and eradicating racism, bias, and systemic barriers to opportunities. Attendees will engage in deep reflection about their roles in ensuring that young children and their families are provided with equitable opportunities to meet their potential. 

Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation



5-minute break




Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms

Sit down with Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms authors to take a deep dive into the book, its reflective questions, and steps toward embracing these practices in your own setting or cohort.  

Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation

Dr. Stephanie Curenton, Associate Professor in the Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, Director of the Ecology of School Readiness Lab, and Program Director for Child & Youth Policy Certificate


Black Minds Matter

In recent years, there have been many high-profile slayings of Black people (e.g., George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Tamir Rice) leading to numerous marches, protests, and vigils throughout the nation. The Black Lives Matter movement has shed light on the injustices facing Black communities and has provided a statement of affirmation that Black lives do indeed matter. This presentation will draw parallels between the ways that Black people (particularly Black boys and men) are under-valued and over-criminalized in society and the ways that they are schooled. Tangible solutions for promoting the learning, development, and success of Black males are offered.

Dr. J. Luke Wood, Vice President of Student Affairs & Campus Diversity and Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University as well as Co-Director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab


Inside Out: Preparation and policy levers for anti-racist early childhood practices

Join Ms. Hardy and Ms. Johnson-Staub from CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, as they discuss CLASP’s report, Equity Starts Early: Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy, as well as the need to center parent voices in policy development.

Alycia Hardy, Policy Analyst, Child Care and Early Education at CLASP

Christine Johnson-Staub, Senior Policy Analyst, Child Care and Early Education at CLASP



Developing Positive Racial Identity in Young Black Children

The PRIDE Program at the University of Pittsburgh was established after researchers discovered that children as young as 3 months old notice race. Working toward positive racial identity development in early education, PRIDE helps parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders learn about the many ways race impacts young children and helps them understand the importance of discussing race with young children.

Dr. Wright’s research and publications examine high-achieving African American males in urban schools pre-k-12, racial-ethnic identity development of boys and young men color, African American males as early childhood teachers, and teacher identity development. He offers professional development workshops focused on the academic achievement of Black males.

Join a robust conversation to hear about the research behind racial identity development and how both PRIDE and Dr. Wright are cultivating positive racial identities, particularly for Black children, through their work with children, parents, and educators.

Medina Jackson, MSW, Director of Engagement at PRIDE (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) at the University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Brian L. Wright, author, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, and Coordinator of the Middle School Cohort of the African American Male Academy at the University of Memphis



10-minute break



Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Practices in Action

Graciela Ceja is committed to culturally sensitive practices and helping the children she serves erase and rewrite the statics of their neighborhood. Her intentional work in creating this type of quality won her the Child360’s Early Educator of the Year award in 2019, and she continues to create quality care for children through mentoring other women on creating high-quality home-based centers in their neighborhoods.

Village of Wisdom works to close the academic opportunity gap by protecting the intellectual curiosity and positive racial self-concept of Black children through the love and wisdom of their families and communities. Their work is steeped in the racial socialization, racial identity development, critical race theory, and culturally responsive pedagogy. They lead families through intense workshops, offer strategies and resources to deal with racial bias, and help families build political power and community interdependence.

Soobin David Oh was an early childhood educator for more than 15 years and is a committed social justice educator well-versed in Anti-Bias education, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and critical pedagogy. Soobin promotes strong, ethical, and equitable early childhood practices as a consultant to center-based and Head Start programs, and worked on developing professional standards for early childhood teachers in Oregon.

Gain insights from a diverse panel of educators with specific, focused approaches to ABAR work. Hear about their intentional partnerships between families and educators that empower equitable and ideal learning environments to the benefit of all children and the community.

Graciela Ceja, Owner of Ceja Family Child Care in South Central Los Angeles

Dr. William Jackson, Chief Dreamer at Village of Wisdom in Durham, North Carolina

Soobin David Oh, Senior Early Education Advisor at Children’s Institute in Portland, Oregon

Moderator: Dr. Iheoma Iruka, Chief Research Innovation Officer and Director of the Center for Early Education Research and Evaluation at HighScope Educational Research Foundation


5-minute break



What can government do to combat racism and its effects on young children?

Please join Ohio policy leaders to discuss what government can and should be doing to combat racism and its effects on young children. Moderated by Dr. Valerie Alloy from the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the panel will look at state and local actions being taken to increase equity, address racism, and ultimately improve the wellbeing of children and families. Director Joy Bivens brings a wealth of knowledge from her role leading Franklin County Jobs and Family Services. State Representative Stephanie Howse will describe her efforts to declare racism a public health crisis in Ohio. And Columbus City Councilmember Priscilla Tyson will share city-level initiatives including her Commission on Black Girls. There will be a moderated Q&A, followed by time for audience questions.

Joy Bivens, Director of Franklin County Jobs and Family Services


Stephanie Howse, 11th District, Ohio House of Representatives

Priscilla Tyson, Columbus City Councilmember

Moderator: Dr. Valerie Alloy, Chief, Grants Administration for the Office of Community Planning & Collaboration, Lead Early Childhood Mental Health Initiatives for the Bureau of Children and Families, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.



Dr. James Moore, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at The Ohio State University


Dr. Laura Justice, Executive Director of the Schoenbaum Family Center and Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy


We have purchased 125 copies of Don’t Look Away: Embracing Anti-Bias Classrooms by Drs. Iruka, Curenton, Durden, and Escay to offer attendees as part of our commitment to pursue actionable change toward anti-bias and anti-racist practices in early childhood education. Books will be provided to those who select this option during registration and who also attend the event. Priority will be given to practitioners and educators (including mentors, coaches, and administrators) and all books will be distributed until no more are available. Accompanying the book will be an electronic guide on creating a book study based on work happening in our partner organization, the Schoenbaum Family Center.

*Recipients will be notified via email following the event, before the books are mailed to the address provided during registration. Book recipients must have a valid U.S. mailing address.