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Fits and the Tantrums: Training Early Care and Education Professionals to Afford Children Full Humanity

December 2, 20202:00 pm3:00 pm Online


Early intervention studies have shown that high quality early care and education programs can yield $4 to $9 returns for every $1 spent, indicating this arena is a vital public investment for long-term social welfare and economic viability. Early care and education programs, however, vary widely in quality, leaving this return on investment unfulfilled. In this presentation, Brita A. Bookser will discuss how state and local uptake of quality improvement initiatives benefit from integrating social justice and critical race frameworks into professional development efforts. To sharpen this point, she will focus on the (mis)use of suspension and expulsion in early care and education settings. Drawing from Alice Walker’s statement, “The most important question in the world is ‘Why is the child crying?’” Bookser will examine how public investments in explicitly anti-carceral, anti-racist, and pro-BIPOC professional development projects promote organizational quality and afford Black and Brown children their childhoods and full humanity.

About the Speaker

Brita A. Bookser (she/her) is a Doctoral Candidate at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare where her interdisciplinary research-praxis agenda attends to the links between education, child development, critical theories, and social policy. Her mixed-method dissertation explores the forms and functions of exclusionary discipline in prekindergarten settings as part of a research-practice partnership with one school district. Bookser earned her M.A. in Infant Mental Health from Mills College in 2014, where she taught preschool at the Mills College Children’s School and completed her clinical placement at the UCSF Infant-Parent Program. Prior to her doctoral work, Bookser was a research analyst at the Education Division of SRI International.

To RSVP, please email irle@berkeley.edu.