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Centering the Culture, Stories and Traditions of Children and Families

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
Audrey Lorde, 1934-1992, Writer and Activist

In 1930, Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky wrote, “When we consider the phenomenon of collective creativity, which combines all these drops of individual creativity that frequently are insignificant in themselves, we readily understand what an enormous percentage of what has been created by humanity is a product of the anonymous collective creative work of unknown inventors.”

Early childhood caregivers and teachers bear witness almost daily to ‘all these drops of individual creativity.’ They also choose what elements of our resulting collective creativities - our culture(s) - to emphasize with young children. Educators Mike Browne and Amir Gilmore remind us, "As 'cultural gatekeepers' (Watson, 2012) teachers shape a child’s understanding of their place in the world, because what they see within a child is what they produce out of the child." Speaking specifically to the experience of young Black boys, as they both once were, Browne and Gilmore go on, “Culture matters. As social actors and cultural gatekeepers, educators serve a critical role in Black boys’ lives, because they determine whose dreams are essential and how they will be centered. Through culture, teachers have the potential to instill a literacy of worthiness in their students.”

Dive deeper into the space where culture, childhood, and creativity meet by joining Browne and Gilmore in a compelling live conversation on September 13, exploring the ways the arts stimulate, nurture, and sustain children's - especially Black children's - self-explorations, joys, curiosities, creativities, well-being, and love of learning.

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