Early Childhood Activist Toolkit

Early childhood is the time in our lives when we develop our core dispositions – the habits of thinking that shape how we live; our work as early childhood educators is to nurture dispositions in young children towards empathy, ecological consciousness, engaged inquiry, and collaboration. These dispositions undergird just and equitable communities; they are at the heart of activism and in the heart of activists.

– Ann Pelo, Rethinking Early Childhood Education

We have heard from many of you who are working hard to keep developmentally appropriate teaching, learning and assessing in our early childhood classrooms. As we know, current education reform is often working against these goals. In response to your call, we have created this Early Childhood Activist Toolkit to help you advocate in schools, communities and nationwide for more child-directed, play-based learning. Check out our INFORMATIONAL RESOURCESACTION RESOURCES as well as our ACTION MINI GRANTS initiative. Also check out the DEY Mobilizing Kit and DEY Power Point Presentation, and DEY’s advocacy reports and publications.






We are excited to offer this mini grant initiative to help foster your good work in your community as related to DEY’s three principle goals:

  • To mobilize the early childhood community to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.
  • To track the effects of new standards, especially those linked to the Common Core State Standards, on early childhood education policy and practice.
  • To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and support educators in counteracting current reforms which undermine these appropriate practices.

We are offering grants from $200.00 to $500.00 and are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis beginning. Applications will be reviewed and up to 20 awards will be granted (depending on grant sizes). Possible actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Hosting a parent information meeting
  • Organizing a Call Your Legislator Day
  • Spearheading a letter writing campaign to politicians
  • Organizing a “Play-In” at the local school board
  • Publicizing an “Opt Out” campaign
  • Hosting a viewing and conversation of chapter or two from A Year at Mission Hill; or When a Child Pretends from the Sarah Lawrence Series (see above)
  • Holding an Open Forum for community members and stake holders (DEY supporting materials coming soon).
  • Whatever else you may think of…

Download the mini grant application here.
Email your completed application to Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin at DEYdirector@gmail.com and please use the subject line “Mini Grant Application”.