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Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

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Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Early Childhood Leaders

Fostering an inclusive, understanding, and enriching environment for our youngest learners

The inclusion of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) professionals not only bring a wealth of cultural knowledge and perspectives that benefit all children but also ensures that students from AANHPI backgrounds see themselves reflected in their educators and role models. This representation helps in building a strong foundation of cultural awareness and empathy from an early age, promoting a sense of belonging and acceptance. By championing diversity and encouraging AANHPI participation in the early childhood workforce, we lay the groundwork for a more inclusive society that values and celebrates the rich tapestry of its people.

Being valued for who and how I am is significant, it parallels how we want children to feel – supported and valued for who they are. It is difficult at best to make others feel valued, especially children, if you feel undervalued yourself.

Our beliefs and values include gratitude for the wisdom of those who come before – our elders and ancestors – while recognizing that our children are our future. So thus we, as a society, will harvest from the seeds we sow and the ways we tend.

Cultural humility is not just about the client, it is also about the way a professional understands their own identities and how their culture shapes the work they do with the wide range of families they serve.

I am aware of what my ancestors have done for my generation, and I have been modeled to consider what kind of ancestors I want to strive to be for my children and their children and grandchildren.

Even though I was born here in the U.S., the rhetoric of this time has really challenged my sense of belonging. I think that parallels the experiences of forcibly displaced refugees and immigrants and the communities of color we work with.

To me, the key is not “knowing” the nuances of different cultures, but coming from a place of humility, curiosity, and respect.

Our Picks: AANHPI Children's Books

Encouraging representation in early literacy

Books are a powerful tool for babies and toddlers to be introduced to traditional practices, beliefs, foods, and customs that enhance their understanding and appreciation for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

By engaging with stories that feature a variety of characters, children learn empathy, cultural awareness, and see themselves represented in ways that mainstream media may not often provide.

Celebrate AANHPI Month as a Family

Honoring diversity, learning about different cultures, and modeling inclusiveness is a powerful way of challenging racial stereotypes from the start. ⁠⁠

Related Resources for Parents and Professionals

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How does your cultural identity affect your approach to infant and early childhood infant mental health?
These infant mental health leaders and how their Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander cultural identity informs their work.