Cultural responsiveness is important to the work of early childhood professionals. Before you can be a leader and advocate of children, families, volunteers, and the community, you must first be aware of cultural responsiveness. Cultural responsiveness refers to “ways of thinking and behaving that enables members of one cultural, ethnic, or linguistic group to work effectively with members of another” (Lynch & Hanson, 1998, p. 492). Cultural responsive administrators are knowledgeable of the cultures represented by the families, volunteers, and community served by their programs. Cultural responsiveness also requires an understanding that race and ethnicity are only two ways groups of people are culturally different. Other cultural differences include educational background, socioeconomic status, language, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs.
It is also important to recognize that there are differences among and within cultural groups. Instead of making a blanket assumption about a particular culture, it is better to seek genuine understanding by asking individuals respectfully what they believe about certain issues. “If you ask with respect and convey your sincere openness and desire to learn, most people are happy to share information about their culture with you” (Hearron and Hildebrand, 2014, p. 297). After reading the journal articles in this week’s readings, please respond to all three parts of the discussion described below:
Part 1: Part 1 of the Discussion focuses on structural aspects of cultural responsiveness. Suppose you are the administrator of a program with children and families of diverse cultures. Discuss how you would support cultural responsiveness through the structure, design, and feel of a program you administrate.
Part 2: For Part 2 of the Discussion, you will focus on the different types of organizational theory and leadership styles as they relate to advocacy and continuous quality improvement for early childhood programs. Administrators who believe in organization as theory focus more on how knowledge is created than on the content of the knowledge (Hearron and Hildebrand, 2014, p. 44). In other words, an organization operates from a theory that “combines bits of past knowledge to create new ways of viewing things” (p. 44). As an administrator, you play an instrumental role in drawing on past theory to create a vision for continuous quality improvement for early childhood programs. Applying organizational theory to a program you wish to administrate one day, describe which past and present theories you will draw from to create a new vision for a high quality program for children of diverse families.
Part 3: For Part 3 of the Discussion, you will focus on the opportunities for administrators to advocate on behalf of young children, their families, and the profession through local, state, and national organizations. Please research local, state, and national organizations which support the kind of early childhood program you hope to administrate. Briefly describe the mission, goals, purpose of the researched organizations and opportunities you see to advocate on the behalf of young children, families, and the profession.
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