What is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging?
The Early Care & Learning Council is dedicated to impacting the lives of young children and their families in order to create a more equitable child care system. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging are components that each play a role in allowing a more enriching early education for all young children.
Below are specific definitions for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
What is Diversity?
Diversity is the quality of difference among individuals, and the celebration of the differences that they represent. It includes visible differences such as age, gender, ethnicity and physical appearance, as well as unseen differences such as thinking styles, religion, nationality, sexual orientation and education. Embracing diversity means that children and families of various backgrounds are met with the same respect and care.
What is Equity?
Equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement of all individuals. To stand for equity is to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of historically under-served and underrepresented individuals and groups. To pursue equity is to ensure that all children have the tools and access they need to accomplish their goals.
What is Inclusion?
Inclusion means creating a working culture where differences are valued and where everyone has the opportunity to develop skills and talents consistent with an organization’s values and business objectives. The aim is to make an space where children, families, and child care workers feel involved, respected, and connected to each other and their culture as a whole.
What is Belonging?
Belonging is about creating a culture where people can be themselves, have psychological safety, appreciate each other, and feel part of something bigger. To create a space where everyone belongs, organizations must emulate and contribute to an inclusive community where everyone feels a shared purpose and valued for who they are. A sense of belonging is essential for young children in child care program.
Expulsion & Suspension Toolkit
Did you know that preschool students are more likely to be expelled than students in any other grade? Often, we are trying to bring equality into the early childhood education industry when we should be bringing equity into these settings. Removing young children from educational spaces has adverse impacts on their development through adulthood.
The NYS ELAN/NBCDI-Albany Affiliate (New York State Equity Leaders Action Network/National Black Child Development Institute) is a diverse, cross-sector, statewide team whose mission is to prevent, and eventually eliminate, the suspension and expulsion of birth to five-year-old children of color by supporting early social-emotional development in all settings.
NYS ELAN/NBCDI-Albany Affiliate, in partnership with ECLC, developed the Expulsion & Suspension Toolkit to spread awareness of the rates at which black and brown children are expelled and suspended from school as early as preschool.
The ECLC Expulsion & Suspension Toolkit can be found here or in the resources page of our website.
Please contact Elijah Foulks to learn more about how you can get involved.
How to Start a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB) Initiative at your Organization
What is the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Assessment?
The IDI is a statistically sound, cross-culturally valid assessment that measures an individual or group’s specific level of cultural competence. As part of the assessment process, individuals are asked to complete a 50-item, online assessment. Although the assessment is completed individually, the results can be disseminated both as a group or individual report.
The IDI provides a structure for understanding how we, as individuals and organizations, see difference. Five stages of mindsets and skillsets describe the levels of effectiveness when we interact across differences both individually and organizationally.
Furthermore, the IDI has been demonstrated (through research) to have high predictive validity to both bottom-line cross-cultural outcomes in organizations and intercultural goal accomplishments in education.
Assessing Cultural Diversity Efforts
Using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Assessment creates impact by identifying where an individual or group’s cultural sensitivities lie. The resulting data creates the opportunity for more in-depth training.
There are a number of reasons for using the IDI assessment tool:
- The IDI is theory-based. The IDI is the only theory-based assessment of intercultural competence.
- The IDI is developmental. The IDI is the only developmental assessment of intercultural competence
- The IDI provides practical, in-depth information. The IDI allows extensive and in-depth insights on individual and group levels of intercultural competence.
ECLC has developed this equity blueprint to offer step by step directions on how an organization can implement a plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Get Leadership on Board & Create a Diversity Committee
Collaborate with senior level staff & board to identify external and internal resources that support your effort.
Form a Diversity Committee
Develop a diverse committee including members of the communities you serve for insight. Community members of your committee should include local providers and families that can keep your organization in tune with community needs and have their voice included in the decision making and execution process.
Hire Diverse Consultants or Specialists
Build a team comprised of DEIB coordinator, committee, and senior management that can hire diverse consultants and vendors to contribute to assessment, planning, & implementation with an equity lens.
Assess Your Organization’s Readiness Using the Intercultural Developmental Index (IDI)
The IDI is a cultural competence assessment that calculates the impact of DEIB implementations on your organization. Individual staff and ECLC’s DEI department can conduct the assessment for free.
Evaluate & Redefine
Permit your organization to use the results of your assessment to reexamine its directives, clarify goals, and implement strategies. Continue to introduce new practices that support a multicultural organization.
ECLC hosts a Learning Café every month, as an opportunity for members, early care and education professionals, and others who are interested to engage in dialogues around racism and equity. We have held discussions using TED Talks or interviews. Past Learning Café topics have included: White Privilege, Uncommon Bias, a presentation from an American Indian and MUCH more!
- View the Learning Cafe: “Confronting the Injustices of Black Boyhood Play in Early Childhood Education”
- View the Learning Cafe: “Transforming Stigma Into Strength”
- View the Learning Cafe: “Beyond Pilgrims and Mascots: The True Meaning of Native American Heritage Month – Patina Park”
- View the Learning Cafe: “Why Disability Inclusion Matters – Catarina Rivera”
Interested in joining the discussion? Please contact our DEIB Director, Elijah Foulks to sign up and receive more information about the Learning Café!