Learning Should Start Locally
Several months ago I attended a conference about safe sleep and breastfeeding. The presenters were from another state and their research was predominantly conducted in another country. The presentation was not widely accepted here in New Mexico. New Mexico is a very culturally diverse state. Each rural area has its own cultural traditions that go back several hundred years. Change is not readily embraced.
Today I attended a different training for early childhood home visitors, also about safe sleep and breastfeeding. But this training was presented by the state’s Breastfeeding Task Force – local people that understand the unique cultures of New Mexico. Lesson learned – educators should know the community and its cultures.
In the late 1800s, educator and philosopher John Dewey wrote about the importance of early learning being cultural. In his My Pedagogic Creed he stated “I believe that the school must represent present life – life as real and vital to the child as that which he carries on in the home, in the neighborhood, or on the play-ground” (Dewey, 1897). Today early childhood educators still refer to his wisdom. Perhaps change is not always necessary.
~ Emily Aragon