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CECE wins eighth Telly award for video on how books can create inclusive classrooms

Published on June 01, 2023

CECE wins eighth Telly award for video on how books can create inclusive classrooms

Screenshot from video: Lead teacher Patricia McCarthy talks about a book with children at the Child and Family Development Resource Center.

Niloufar Rezai, director of the Child and Family Development Resource Center at Eastern, with children in an inclusive classroom

Screenshot from video: Lead teacher Emily Grogan reads to children at the Child and Family Development Resource Center.

A video released this past fall by the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) at Eastern Connecticut State University on “Using Children’s Books to Help Build Inclusive Classrooms” has won a Telly award, the CECE’s eighth Telly since 2010.

The Telly awards are given for the best work created within television and video across all screens. The 2023 awards were chosen from more than 12,000 entries from around the world.

The CECE’s latest award-winning video is part of its series focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in early childhood education. In March, the CECE reached a milestone when its videos received more than 5 million views on YouTube.

While the CECE originally intended its videos to be used for professional development meetings, usage data show that teachers are viewing them during the semester, said Julia DeLapp, executive producer of many CECE videos. The feedback about them is “always very, very positive,” she said. When she attends professional meetings, DeLapp meets educators who ask her, “Wait —  are you the people who make those videos?” she said.

The latest Telly award winning video features education professor Theresa Bouley describing how teachers can select children’s books that represent a diversity of cultures and family structures. Bouley also explains how teachers can use pre- and post-reading discussions to help create inclusive classrooms.

That approach has been endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, DeLapp said, which published a book on developmentally appropriate practices for preschool teaching.

Telly statue
The Telly award statuette

“We need to make all children feel comfortable, regardless of their family situation,” she said.

In all, the CECE has produced 132 English-language instructional videos and nine in Spanish, along with 548 video clips. One video, “Gaining Children’s Attention,” featuring a Willimantic teacher showing how she uses a Hocus Pocus game to capture students’ attention, has been viewed more than 645,000 times, DeLapp said.

The center is currently wrapping up production on two videos on trauma, including how to build resilience in children who have experienced trauma and how to respond to trauma behaviors. The new videos will include an interview DeLapp did with Bruce Perry, the psychiatrist and trauma specialist who co-authored the best-selling book “What Happened to You?” with Oprah Winfrey. An earlier CECE video on understanding the effects of trauma has already been released.

Using music and creative movement in teaching young children are topics of other recent CECE videos.

The latest Telly-winning video was produced and directed by DeLapp. Ken Measimer, media production specialist, was the videographer and editor, assisted by student intern Mark-Anthony Richards ’23, a communication major. Emily Grogan and Patty McCarthy, lead teachers at the Child and Family Development Resource Center, and director Niloufar Rezai were filmed reading books and discussing them with children.

Written by Lucinda Weiss