Voices of Practitioners
Voices of Practitioners disseminates early childhood teachers’ systematic study of an aspect of their own classroom practice. Teacher research offers a means for teachers to examine their questions about teaching and learning, reflect with colleagues, and make improvements in their teaching practice.
Race, Equity, and Increasing Opportunities for Children to Play: A Call for New Voices
Voices of Practitioners Fall 2022, Volume 17
The call: Supporting Young Children’s Agency and Creativity Through Play
For the 2022 Voices of Practitioners compilation issue, we are seeking stories that address how you provide joyful play spaces for children, particularly for those who may be marginalized by race, class, language, immigration status, dis/ability, or other identity factors.
Early childhood educators know about the power of play, especially play that provides choice, promotes wonder, and creates joy (NAEYC 2020). At the same time, we live in a world where persistently inequitable patterns of oppression limit such opportunities for play to children from marginalized groups. These inequities have been foregrounded in NAEYC’s position statement on equity and the revised position statement on DAP, and they are discussed in Ijumaa Jordan’s contribution to the fourth edition of the DAP book. To work for equity, we must fully recognize the “inequitable distribution of societal power and privilege on the basis of race” and other factors (NAEYC 2020, 4). We must bear in mind that “play-centered advocacy must dismantle oppressive educational systems that deny access to play based on race and class” (Jordan 2021, 103).
We hope you will take this opportunity to share your story about play and equity with the early childhood community. Here are some questions you might reflect upon to do so:
- As early childhood teachers and administrators, what practices and environments are you using to maximize complex and consistently available play opportunities for each and every child?
- What are some joyful moments during play that have helped to enhance equity in your setting?
- In what ways has increasing the engagement of families and the community provided new opportunities for play?
- What do you struggle with in your efforts to provide a high-quality setting that encourages each and every child to learn and explore through play?
- How do you step back and step forward to provide choices for engagement and how play develops?
- In what ways have you changed your practice, and what recommendations do you have to other early childhood professionals for how all of us can change to create greater equity in our society?
Deadline for submitting a Proposal: April 8, 2022
We invite teachers and administrators who work with young children birth to age 8 to share your idea for a narrative essay that features children learning and developing through play and that focuses on one or more issues related to equity and social justice. We are also interested in stories from teacher educators, particularly those working with associate degree students. We are interested in firsthand accounts that amplify the voices of teachers and children, and your writing should be in the form of a personal story.
Proposals should be 500-750 words in length and include the following:
- A statement of the challenge or the potential for change your piece intends to address
- A brief contextual overview of your program (e.g., geography, population of children and families served, how your program operates)
- A key anecdote or descriptive narrative that captures the heart of your message
- Two to three lessons that you learned from this interaction and your reflection upon it, presented in a bulleted list
Of these, the single most important element will be the key anecdote, which should set a scene, introduce believable characters, and set a plot in motion. This brief anecdote will likely not resolve the tension, but it should illustrate the potential for change that is the focus of your essay.
We will select from the submitted proposals and will work with these authors through the revision process. The final narrative essays will be published in late fall 2022, will be 1,000-1,500 words in length, and will ideally include photographs of children and their playful interactions relevant to the essay.
Before submitting a proposal, we recommend that you review the narrative essays that were published in Fall 2021, Volume 16, which are available to read for free on the NAEYC website.
- Proposals are due by April 8, 2022.
- Submit to Submittable. You will land on the Teaching Young Children submission site. Keep going! We are using this site because it is user friendly. Scroll past the Frequently Asked Questions section and click on the Teaching Young Children “Submit” button. You will be prompted to open an account, fill in contact information, then upload your proposal.
- Authors will be informed of our selection decisions in early summer 2022.
- Selected authors will work with an assigned Voices of Practitioners editor to prepare a final draft, due by September 2, 2022.
- In October and November 2022, authors will work with a member of the NAEYC editorial team on a final round of edits to prepare the manuscript for publication on the NAEYC website.
Fall 2021: Volume 16
Read the Fall 2021 compilation of Voices where we invited practitioners to reflect on what they are learning while leading and educating young children during overlapping global crises.
Fall 2020: Volume 15
Read the Fall 2020 collection, which highlights new and divergent perspectives on how best to teach and lead, while also revealing many commonalities of our professional experiences as educators.
Fall 2019: Volume 14
Read the Fall 2019 issue for articles that include "Promoting Equity Through Teacher Research" and more.
Fall 2018: Volume 13
Read the Fall 2018 issue for articles that include "The Complexity of Preparing New Teachers" and more.
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This forum will share the benefits of teacher research to professional practice with the entire NAEYC community, as well as offer resources and support for aspiring teacher researchers and teacher educators.