Food is for Eating, not Wasting!

Food is for Eating, not Wasting!

(A personal Reflection on Evaluating Impacts on My Professional Practice)

Like many other teachers, when I was working as a teacher in an International Preschool I enjoyed creating activities where children exposed with many different kind of things to simulate their hand coordination, sensory and motor trough art, craft and hands-on activities.

Colored-Macaroni

Colored-Macaroni

There were so many resources provided to support the children’s activities in this area. There were the abundance of resources such as colorful shiny beads, sequins, glitters, pompoms, feathers, papers with the different shapes and texture, wonderful stickers, paints, chalk to do the different activities in the art and craft. There were the macaroni, pasta, rice, and the variety of dried bean to make necklaces and collages as well as the different fresh fruits for the children to make stamp with the paint.

Truly speaking, I felt nervous for the first time I encountered with my experience to use food as the learning resources.  Coming from a developing, third country such as Indonesia, even though I was growing in a family that could give me enough food every day, the life outside was surrounded with the poverty in many corners of my environment. Therefore, I was raised in the family and community that really valued and respects the culture that food is very precious in this world that lack of food.

INDONESIA-10002NF2

I thought maybe I am the only teacher who has the thought and feeling of objection about food as the learning material particularly if I feel the food would end up wasted. However, I kept on doing my job as a teacher in the learning activities using all of the food as the ‘new’ resources for me, and keep the contradiction silently deep in my heart-not to mention that at that time I was not brave enough to discuss it with my colleagues from different countries than mine.

Knowing the bigger fact that there is food waste everywhere in the world -roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tones are lost or wasted (Global Food Losses and Food Waste – FAO, 2011) is another reason behind my ‘guilty’ feeling.  Food as the learning resources should not end up wasted.

Food waste is everywhere in the corner of the world

Food waste everywhere in the corner of the world

Having involving with the anti-bias education principles,  I realize that I can offer many perspectives to the children at home and in my class as well as my colleagues about the respect for the food as part of the anti-bias learning in the class, and still support the sensory learning in the class. I would have the empathy and became more considerate to use the learning resources if someday I have to work in different places in the world.

Maybe next time I can offer my students or my own children a different activity-still using the food as the learning resources-in the cooking activities for example. The children can use the ingredients to give them the experience of sensory and fine motor activities, but after that the children could transform the ingredients into a wonderful food they love in their cooking activities…. Therefore, there will be no more food wasted in a bin except ‘wasted’ in the ‘little chef’s’ tummy!

My daughter Aubrey-My little chef in the messy corner of our kitchen. The messy kitchen is a happy kitchen!

My daughter Aubrey-My little chef in the messy corner of our kitchen.
The messy kitchen is a happy kitchen!

Brunei Darussalam, October 2013

Evita Kartikasari

Reference:

Global Food Losses and Food Waste – FAO, 2011

The environmental crisis: The environment’s role in averting future food crisis  – UNEP, 2009

Retrieved from http://www.unep.org/wed/quickfacts/

P.S: I am really happy when my mentor, Dr. Nanette Schonleber give the comment to my writing as below:

“I had that experience in Hawaii where a lot of the cultures there…including the Native Hawaiians do not agree with the idea of using food for anything but eating. They feel that it is disrespectful. Most of the preschools in Hawaii for that reason did not use food products such as rice or macaroni for art projects. Food was only for eating and eating was meant to be a sacred act. Thank you for sharing. To not use food products in a culture where food is precious is an act of respect so I encourage you to find the courage to say something if this happens again. With your gift for diplomacy I am sure you could figure a way to say it gracefully!”

Thank you always for your great encouragement as always, Dr. Sheri!

My Son, My Little Mozart

My Son, My Little Mozart

My son Fernando-from the very young age was really interested in  music...

My son Fernando-from the very young age he was really interested in music…
Location: Our home sweet home in Muscat, Oman-Middle East.

It has been quite some time that my 3 years old son- Fernando- joins the program called ‘Little Mozart’ in a music center not too far from where we live here in Seria, Brunei Darussalam. The ‘Little Mozart’ is actually an interaction in a music and movement class for young children. This is a program to encourage a love for music in young children, as young as 3-5 years old, designed to help develop singing and listening skills in music and impart an appreciation for many musical styles.

This program combines general musicianship activities with those that develop performance skills at the piano.  Skills taught in the course focus on keyboard performance, listening, pitch matching, keyboard technique, and singing, rhythm, movement, and music appreciation.

My son Fernando and his music teacher-Teacher Aubrey!

My son Fernando and his music teacher-Teacher Aubrey!
Location: Music Centre in Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam.

We are very lucky to meet the teacher named Teacher Aubrey in this program for my son. She is a music teacher who was able to present herself as a person who was fun, guiding, playful, and patient to deliver her competencies in musical abilities to the young children. She really understood that she was involving with young children. Therefore, her voice tone was soft but clear enough to be heard by the children but still make them feel comfortable and not afraid to her. The teacher sometimes lowers her body until she reached the same eye level of the children, so the children would feel secure.

I can see that the teacher in this program was able to present the affirming communication with my son as the young children. She was able to present the active process to communicate effectively involving the mindful speaking and listening. She communicated effectively in verbal language with the young children using a clear and fluent English language that understood by the children. She managed to give clear, simple explanation and order what to do, what to sing and how to move. She always mentions each name of the student, indicating that she knew them personally really well.  The teacher also never forgets to give praise whenever the children did well in the program, and still encouraging the children positively whenever they seemed not really understand what to do.  

My son Fernando right now-my little Mozart, my future musician!

My son Fernando right now-my little Mozart, my future musician!

It is more than six month already that my son already joined this program. I can see a good progress in my son that now he starts to recognize the basic keys in the piano, the low or high sound, the values of the keys, how to play and hit the key with the right finger, and understand how to interpret the dynamics signs according to the musical language. So far, I can see that the teacher as well as my son seemed very excited to involve in this program. Since this program combines the general musicianship in singing and movement, my son was singing, dancing, and jumping happily according to the rhythm of the music in this program-well, of course my son now is a better singer and dancer too!

My son Fernando, my little dancer... baby you are firework!

My son Fernando, my little dancer… baby you are firework!

 I realize now that every person who deal with young children need to understand how to communicate with this little people: practicing the affirming communication that involved the mindful listening to and speaking with the children. As I can see here in the Little Mozart program that my son is involving, the appropriate affirming communication could make the message of the musical knowledge delivered successfully to the young children and satisfying each of them. At the end of the session, the teacher and the my son sing the goodbye song while they were smiling and waving hands to each other, and giving a big hug to each other tightly.

“Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me”

(ABBA)

Brunei Darussalam,

September 2013.

Evita Kartikasari

 

A place to learn, where every child matters…

A place to learn, where every child matters…

As a parent and teacher, when I think about the children around me-they way I perceive them, the things I believe about the children-effect everything I do with the children. I believe that when we come from a place of thinking of children as strong, competent, and capable-my teaching encourages the children to grow and develop. And I come from a place, as many of us have come from a place, of thinking of children as needing to be taught, deficit, and lacking in some kind of a way…. our approach will be different! (Laureate Education Inc, 2011).

If I have a child-care of my own, I would like to make an inclusive as well as affirming environment for every child regardless his or her different abilities, race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, economic class, family structure and religion.

Therefore, I would like to start identify the children who came in my classroom-WHO THE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE! After I find out who they are, I need to make sure to enroll all of the different children and families in the learning process in my classroom by make the children and their families visible in all parts of my learning environment (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010). Therefore, I would build the early childhood classroom of my own to have a unique way and look!

wheelchair

The second thing I would like to do is: I need to look at which other people, groups and families from larger society are missing and then bring in more diversity in the classroom. I would like to select the learning material to show in the classroom the diversity that can exist within groups (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).

For example, I do not choose just one picture, doll, puzzles, object or book to represent any particular group or way of life.   For example: I need to include providing the persona doll in my classroom with the different physical characteristic such as different skin colors and shades, hair texture and eye colors. I would also need to provide the persona doll with the different physical abilities such as a doll in wheelchair, or using the leg braces, hearing aid, assistance dog and many more.

persona doll wheelchair

It is important to make sure that each doll’s feature is realistic and individual rather than caricaturized or stereotypical. I need to make sure that the dolls with disabilities reflect various racial and ethnic backgrounds as well.

In other words, I need to really know what kind of learning material that I need to choose to really represent all of the diversity within the classroom as well as outside the classroom-such as the diversity in our community.

diversity children

When every child with their differences in many ways comes into my classroom, I want each of them to feel that they are comfortable, important, and respected by the time the entering my classroom door.

index

Once again, as their guidance, when I come from a place of thinking of children as strong, competent, and capable-my teaching encourages the children to grow and develop. I want every child also to feel that his or her identities are visible in every learning material and environment that I choose for the classroom. Because I truly believe, that invisibility erases identity… and visibility affirms reality!

friendship

Well…, I just hope that my dream for children to feel that each of them really matters in the classroom will come true one day….

Brunei Darussalam, September 2013

Evita Kartikasari

Reference

Derman-Sparks, L. & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Washington, DC:   www.naeyc.org.

Laureate Education, Inc., (2011). Building on Children’s Strengths. A video Program. Baltimore, MD.

“We are all alike, we are all different…..”

“We are all alike, we are all different…..”

Being born and raised up in Indonesia, a country rich in cultural diversity, that consists more than 13.000 islands, more than 300 of distinct natives, linguistic groups, …..many different religions practiced,

The Indonesian children with various culture and diversity....

The Indonesian children with various culture and diversity….

And…..

….being a ‘global nomad’-living as the expatriate for more than a decade until now with my family as well as visiting many countries around the world….

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ― Augustine of Hippo

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo
Photograph: by my daughter Aubrey

All of the experiences were really shaping me to be who I am today-and brings my deepest interest to understand and learn more about diversity around me.

When I learn more about Anti-Bias Education, I feel like I find what I am longing for: the answer to my questions to understand diversities around me

deeper and wider…beyond what my eyes can see…

Diversity is not just about the different nationalities, different traditional outfits, different taste of food, different ceremonies, different race, languages, skin color….

Understanding diversity is beyond all of these things that we could say as a ‘tourist curriculum”… it is included something that we cannot see such as the children and their families’ different culture, custom, believe, bias and  prejudice toward the other people who are very different than they are.

arms-around-the-world-promo

I believe that my knowledge about anti bias education as well as my experience as a preschool teacher has added deeper understanding to treat the children around me in a better way to understand the diversity around them.It gives me such a wonderful insight, perspectives and experience to fulfill my role as a parent for my two young children as well.

I have a wish…

That as an adult, I can be an active guide to the children’s thinking about diversity, and guide them in a accurate way to understand about people who are different from themselves. So every child, no matter who they are and their condition would be able to say that

“We are all alike, we are all different… and it is amazing!”

12620342-smiling-children-looking-at-something-off-screen-each-one-holding-a-balloon

I have a hope….

That someday every child in the world would be able to feel proud of themselves and their families, to respect human differences, to recognize bias as well as speak up for what is right….

 Last but not least,…

I would like to thank to Dr. Janet Kien for her wonderful guidance and encouragement for my study in this course… and of course I would like to thank to all of my fellow classmates:

Amber Wilson, Dotsy Roberts, Jessica Caputo, Jelena Subotic, Marquis Wright, Mellisa Fowlkes, Mellisa Gentry, Shelda Millien, Tracy Zarieff and Whitney Drew.

for a valuable sharing, discussion, knowledge and encouragement along in my journey understanding the anti-bias education… Hopefully from now on we can built such a wonderful network to hand in hand together to make a difference in children’s life around us with our knowledge.

Each of us may follow our own unique path to make a difference in children’s life…. but we are all in the same journey…

My son Fernando -waving his hand sending you the warmest regard from Brunei Darussalam. The back ground behind is the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei. The main dome of the mosque is covered in pure gold.

My son Fernando -waving his hand sending you the warmest regard
from Brunei Darussalam.
The back ground behind is the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, most beautiful mosque in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei.
The main dome of the mosque is covered in pure gold.
Photograph: by Evita Kartikasari

 

Until we meet again, my friends…

My warmest regards from the Heart of Borneo, Brunei Darussalam

To you all!

August 2013

Evita Kartikasari

I Want to Live…….

I Want To Live….

 

There are children raised in sorrow

Sorrow

on a scorched and barren plain,

scorced and barren place

there are children raised beneath a golden sun.

sunflower children

There are children of the water,

seberangi-jembatan-rusak1

children of the sand,

Children of the sand
and they cry out through the universe,

Five children looking down into the camera screaming

their voices raised as one:

Kids-of-All-Races
I want to live,

cody-mccasland

I want to grow,

child_soldier1-jpeg

I want to see,

little-girl-examining-flowers-using-magnifier-19502628

I want to know,

boy_butterfly
I want to share what I can give,

sharing-ice-cream-cone(2)

I want to be,

little-bali-dancer-400-4ce5007c03c74

I want to live.

guiyang-chinese-migrant-workers-children-scavenging-garbage-landfill-02

We are standing all together, face to face and arm in arm.working together to change our planet

We are standing on the threshold of a dream.

Happy-Girl
No more hunger,

Child having picnic in park

no more killing,

children-dove-peace-symbol

no more wasting life away.

live-life-to-the-fullest

It is simply an idea and I know its time has come.

 happy-children

I want to live, I want to grow, I want to see, I want to know,

IMG_6832

My daughter Aubrey and my son Fernando… I want you to live, grow and glow…
Location: Al-Bustan Palace, Muscat-Oman
Personal collection of photograph.

I want to share what I can give,

I want to be……..
 

IMG_9899

Me and my son, Fernando…. we were enjoying every second what really matters in live… the love between us.
Location; The Burger Park-Bremen, Germany.
I will let my passion for love and life lead my way…….
I wanna share what I can give….
I wanna be…

  …I want to live..

a song and lyrics by John Denver

Brunei Darussalam, August 2013

Evita Kartikasari

 

 

“…Shhh… We Don’t Say That Words!”

“…Shhh… We Don’t Say That Words!”

“Mom, look… that lady is so fat!” a little voice whispered when I was waiting to pick up my daughter around her class. That voice was actually my 3 years old son responding to the woman who was walking right in front of us. I am pretty sure that lady was closed enough to us to hear what my son’s whisper….. I was stunning and so unprepared, and found out that my response was to tell my son that it was not good to say that words…..

I did not want the woman felt bad, so I tried to quiet my son as soon as possible. To my surprise, my son was very upset when I told him like that…. I realized that what my son’s doing was part of his observation of the people and his environment… He was just trying to tell me the truth fact about people around him as well as sharing what he was thinking….

My son-my carefree curious little boy-was picking the flower, blowing and smelling... He is my little explorer....

My son-my carefree curious little boy-was picking the flower, blowing and smelling…
He is my little explorer….
Location: Balekambang Garden-Tawangmangu, Solo-Central Java-Indonesia

At that time, I realized that I treated my son inappropriately, but I really did not know what to do, what to say or what not to say. I felt like I was going to say the wrong thing, so should I just say nothing to my son?

It was long ago before I learned and knew about the Anti Bias Education…. Now I realize, as an anti-bias educator and parent, I would have stopped with my son and asked questions to see what he thought about these differences (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). I should have explained to my son that people were different and they may have different shapes and sizes, and it was just fine. We need to be constantly re-evaluating the messages we give to children (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011). My comment may be simple, but it could make a direct positive statement about diversity and used myself as a parent as a model of other possible ways to think about differences (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).

My son... I hope you will be ready facing the world full of differences and colors... "There's no beauty in the sameness, only in differences-Paulo Coelho) Location: Orchard Road-Singapore

My son… I hope you will be ready facing the world full of differences and colors…
“There’s no beauty in the sameness, only in differences-Paulo Coelho)
Location: Orchard Road-Singapore

I know I am not the expert yet to be an anti bias educator, but at least the knowledge that I have, would open the door to many possibilities to give a right start for my children to respond about differences. I realize that what my son was doing by saying that the woman is so fat was his way to know more about his own and other’s various identity and appearance (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010). It reflects my son’s desire to make sense of the world. What my son said was not necessarily the signs of developing prejudice.

However, what I did by silencing him (“It’s not good to say that words!”) or avoiding real answers ( “It’s not important!”) can lead my son to conclude that there is something discomforting or fearful about being different (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).

I really hope that I can build the right foundation for my children’s healthy development and their future life success to develop comfortable and respectful interactions with the differences and all kinds of people around us.

My son and the indigenous girl from Borneo. Location: Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, Sarawak-Malaysia.

My son and the indigenous girl from Borneo.
Location: Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, Sarawak-Malaysia.

Regards from Borneo-Brunei Darussalam

Evita Kartikasari

References

Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). Start Seeing Diversity: Physical Ability and Characteristics. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6357/CH/mm/audio_player/index_week6.html

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). Start Seeing Diversity: Race/Ethnicity. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6357/CH/mm/audio_player/index_week6.html

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Boy Girl signpost

Talking about the issues about gender identity and sexual orientation itself, especially in the context within my country Indonesia- well, truly speaking- it is a very heavy issues! I have not mention yet how to talk about both of the issues above with the implementation in early childhood field there. Well, anyway, a journey of a thousand miles should start from a single step. So, let us get started. . . .

Based on the report from the news in Jakarta Globe (2013), research shows that Indonesia is strongly opposed to LGBT rights. Based on the study by the Pew Research Center who surveyed more than 37,000 people in 39 countries, it found Indonesians were overwhelming opposed to homosexuality, with 93 percent saying that gay people should not be accepted.

It was very interested to find out what the Pew Research Center in Jakarta Globe (2013) said, “Acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world,” Pew said in its summary of the findings. “In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.” Muslim countries were found to be overwhelmingly opposed to homosexuality.

Since same sex marriage/relationships are not accepted in the law and society in my country, therefore the same-sex couples are not eligible to adopt a child in Indonesia. Only married couples consisting of a husband and a wife can have children or adopt them. At the end, talking about the inclusion of books, toy and educational materials depicting same-sex partnered families was still far away to be faced and encountered in my society.

I realized that in my country Indonesia-it is still a long long way to go for achieving the openness and tolerance toward people with diverse sexuality. Although I am a straight one and raised up in a Catholic family, right now I am in my phase when I am opening my eyes, my ears and especially my mind, to the different and changing society around me. In my opinion, we are all human and we are all the same-the God’s children. That is all that matter! As if this everybody is aware of the negative stigma toward them and willing to live side by side in discrimination-free atmosphere with them… then we can think about advanced collaboration in many aspects of life….

balloons1

July2013.

Reference

Hope of Tolerance Toward LGBT in Indonesia. The Jakarta Globe. 17 may 2013. Retrieved from http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/blogs/hope-of-tolerance-toward-lgbt-in-indonesia/

Indonesia Still Far From a Rainbow Nation. The Jakarta Globe. 10 July 2013. Retrieved from http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesia-still-far-from-a-rainbow-nation/