I could not be more excited to host the incredible Ashley May as my guest for the finale episode of season four. It has been a really eye opening season of episodes for many, each episode featured an individual with their own unique experience as a Black individual within a Waldorf community. In this episode however Ashley and I discuss the topic of this season, "Inclusion and Belonging", in a more broad way, utilizing her expertise as a WECAN member familiar with Waldorf, an educational researcher and ethnographer. We discuss what Ashley appreciates about the Waldorf approach, how it serves children, and also where it needs to improve to become more inclusive.
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Ashley J. May is a mother and ethnographer living on the unceded Tongva lands commonly known as Los Angeles, CA. She is the Founder and Project Director of The Grassroots Morning Garden Project that aims to liberate families and organize parents and their children around spaces of freedom through a co-constructed model for holistic, nature immersive parent and child groups, community based partnerships, and mutual aid. Her graduate training is in research and evaluation--specifically in early childhood and community care contexts. She has over 20 years experience in education and holds a Child Development Site Supervisor permit from the California Department of Education and is a member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society for the History of Children and Youth.
Ashley infuses the beauty of the Waldorf philosophy, nature immersive play, and informal educational practices into her work and home life, while elucidating the places of expansion and opportunities for transformation in order that we be in right relationship with the families and communities we serve.
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"Heaven on Earth" by Sharifa Oppenheimer is a book Ashley really enjoyed when first exploring Waldorf education.
"Thirty Sunsets and Moon" is the zine Ashley talks about in this episode. From the sugarhouseworkshop.com website, "Thirty Sunsets and a Moon is a handmade book filled with stories, recipes, handwork, and reflections honoring simple celebrations and meaningful traditions during the spring and summer festival season of the Muslim calendar, including Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, Dhul Hijjah, and Eid al Adha." WELL WORTH WAITING UNTIL THIS ONE'S BACK IN STOCK, keep checking back at sugarhouseworkshop.com, they're @sugarhouseworkshop on Instagram.
Ashley J. May, my featured guest in this episode can be found @mayashleyj on Instagram and also on twitter.
Towards the end of this episode Ashley recommends a really great place to join the conversation for folks listening in, it is:
@WaldorfPOC (that's on Instagram)
Juliana Pinto McKeen (pronounced Who - Lee - Anna), the educator behind @WaldorfPOC is also the Director of Honeybirds Playschool and she has a wonderful round up of resources on her school's website:
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