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Episode 32

Integrating DEI and SEL Initiatives into Mainstream Childhood Education

Brief description of the episode

How do we develop lifelong readers right from childhood? Amandeep Kochar, President and CEO of Baker & Taylor reflects on how his childhood experiences have shaped his outlook on incorporating DEI and SEL into early education. Listen in for great tips on how edtech is pivotal to bringing about this revolution and how it can benefit society as a whole.

Key Takeaways:

  • Scientific research has shown that regular reading in children can lead to less anxiety and greater consideration for others.
  • Books can serve as a platform for personal development, improved communication skills, and self-discovery.
  • The absence of diverse characters in leading roles, particularly in children’s literature, fails to adequately represent the diverse fabric of society. This, in turn, can negatively impact individuals who do not see themselves represented in literature.
  • The lack of representation of young transgender children in literature has been linked to higher suicide rates.
  • Reading can inspire people and lead to calmness and empathy.
  • Content and technology should intersect to create a platform where students can easily switch between reading for pleasure and reading to learn.
  • Content and technology need to work together to create an amalgamated solution that appeals to the children’s learning styles and seasons of life.
  • The content needs to be accessible, and easily available to all learners, regardless of device or internet connectivity.
  • The focus should be on creating a passion for reading, opening up the world to learners, and building confidence to become positive influences in their community.
  • There is a need for more holistic solutions that aim to create readers and learners for life.
  • Representation, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), and Accessibility are important for creating diverse and authentic stories for children.
  • Utilize knowledge, wisdom, and data to fill gaps in the market for affordable leveled readers and stories that represent different communities.
  • The “Windows and Mirrors” concept in literature for children allows them to see themselves and learn about others’ differences in culture, ethnicity, religion, or language.
  • Use diverse artistic creativity, illustrations, and storytelling styles. Level books by both Lexile and Fountas and Pinnell and social-emotional learning standards.
  • The aim is to produce books that enable children to view themselves and others as individuals without any differences.

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