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Cultivating the Genius of Black Children: Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap in the Early Years

Cultivating the Genius of Black Children: Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap in the Early Years

Author: Debra Ren-Etta Sullivan EdD
Product Code: 544052
ISBN: 978-1-60554-405-2
Publisher: Redleaf Press®
$29.95 Qty: 

Published by Redleaf Press Free sample chapter

There has been much attention given to the opportunity gap between white and minority students, especially African American children. Using research and years of experience Cultivating the Genius of Black Children is able to break down the cultural influences on learning style and provides a practical approach to helping Black children thrive in the classroom.

For Black children, defined as those of African descent, there is a disconnect between learning preferences and learning environments that must be bridged before the achievement gap can be closed. This hands-on resource is filled with effective strategies and best practices to help early childhood educators expand their “toolbox” to include strategies and approaches specifically directed to supporting Black children.

Increasing our cultural intelligence will allow us to work across many cultural differences in our classrooms. As our schools become more diverse, cultural competency will be an increasingly important skill for teacher efficacy and children’s success. By cultivating the individual genius of each child and meeting them where they are today we can invigorate the education system and provide children high quality early education experiences. Softbound, 184 pages.

Age focus: 3–9

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Review: The Education Shelf, Midwest Book Review - July 16, 2016
Cultivating the Genius of Black Children: Strategies to Close the Achievement Gap in the Early Years is quite simply a 'must' for any collection strong in early childhood education for black children. Research, experience, and the latest studies combine in a reference directed to early childhood educators interested in creating classrooms in which Black children learn and grow on many levels. From different cultural influences specific to Black children and how they learn to incorporating this knowledge into a classroom endeavor, this book is filled with important keys to success and shows teachers how to better involve kids and families alike in the education process.  
Review: Foreword Reviews - June 2, 2016
A must read for educators and parents, Cultivating the Genius of Black Children is a practical, in-depth look at the cultural relevancy and teaching methodologies best suited for the success of black children in public and private school settings. Debra Ren-Etta Sullivan uses established curriculum models, learning strategies, and approaches, combined with new concepts in organization and focus, and while black children and their particular needs are highlighted, the applied initiatives are meant for culturally diverse, mixed classrooms, communities, and teachers.

Drawing from her own dissatisfaction as a motivated black student and years of teaching and consulting experience, Sullivan’s blended knowledge of the education system and cultural anthropology creates an exciting new initiative for both black advocacy and practices needed to maximize learning experiences in early childhood education. Full of practical advice and check lists, and backed by years of collective studies and context, teachers, educators, and, most of all, students, will benefit from these insights, starting with the assumption that all black children are geniuses.
Review by: Ed Greene, Educational Trasmedia Designs - February 1, 2016
Debra Sullivan has written a book that provides personal reflection and experiences, as well as relevant references, descriptive vignettes, discussions of learning environments, and questions for readers’ reflections. Curricular models and program practices from early education programs are used to identify and contrast various culturally relevant elements of appropriate learning environments for children of African Descent. I strongly recommend Cultivating the Genius of Black Children to anyone working with young children. Sullivan boldly challenges us to look at what it will take to simultaneously close the academic achievement gap and cultivate the genius of Black children in classrooms that already exist. As she states: “ It is possible, doable, and imperative”
Review by: Claire Chang, Former governing board member of NAEYC - February 1, 2016
Dr. Sullivan has managed to shift the conversation from the persistent achievement gap that limits the potential of Black children to a more productive analysis and steps to nurture the genius of Black children. The wisdom of her approach shifts the focus to include research grounded in the reality of cultural learning styles and preferences, a teacher’s commitment to healthy child development for every child and how teachers can build meaningful relationships with Black families and communities as a committed partner in the learning and development of Black children. This is a must read for all early childhood professionals committed to helping Black children, and all children to thrive.
Review by: Maurice Sykes - January 19, 2016
Debra Sullivan has written a book that focuses on the education of young black children from a social justice perspective. She challenges us to think more deeply about our craft knowledge and practices that can lead to children's deeper learning and help to close the achievement gap. She reminds us that the early years matter and that to ensure black children's success in school and in life, we must first discover the genius that resides within.

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