Last month I announced that Defending the Early Years would be collecting stories of resistance with the goal of developing an early childhood resistance movement. For more on why we must resist, you can read my previous articles here and here.
I’m excited to announce that we have our first story of resistance. Susie LaBarre an Occupational Therapist in Washington State sent me a copy of her letter where she voiced her concerns over the well being of young children and to implore for radical change. In addition to raising her voice, Susie included resources to educate her district superintendent (each of the resources is located here). With her permission, I have included a copy of Susie’s letter below:
Good morning Rob,
Following a discussion with one of my special education teams when a family did not show for a preschool evaluation, I was feeling defeated and wondering where to start to be a voice for students as they begin their education journey. To also be a voice for students who struggle to learn, academically, socially, with self-care, and coping skills. To be a voice for staff who are feeling exhausted trying to meet the needs of students on so many levels and pressure to perform with classroom standards they are expected to uphold, even when their educational background is telling them that they are asking students to do tasks that may not be developmentally appropriate. They push forward, seek support for intervention, yet students are not able to qualify for services, because they demonstrate age-appropriate skills, and the loop continues, pushing students to try and reach standards that are not developmentally appropriate.
I do not know where to start, but I feel in my heart of hearts, we need to start thinking about making radical changes. The needs of students are changing based on the nature of our world (see attached references), and it appears we are using tools that may not best fit the job at hand. I know that I am not alone in expressing concern for the overall well-being of our students and staff, but like in Horton Hears a Who, I am compelled to be a voice for the voiceless or for what is not being said.
This is not just school district concerns. Fellow professionals are expressing like concerns when caring for moms/dads and infants in the hospital, NICU, birth to three programs, other school districts and child programs, transitions to the workforce, and adult support programs. Not knowing where to begin the discussion, yet I know that you have read my emails in the past with conviction and felt compelled to be a voice again.
Thank you for taking the time to read any or all of what I have shared. I wish you a season of hope for you and your family and for Cheney SD this holiday season.
Susie LaBarre, OTR/L
Windsor, Betz, Snowdon, WMS
This is one way to resist. How do you resist? Send me your resistance story to firstname.lastname@example.org.