“What does fatherhood mean to you?” and “What do you most want for your child’s education?” These are among the questions that participants in an Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) early learning event recently pondered together. The event, “Fathers and Father Figures Kindergarten Readiness Conversation and Celebration,” was the brainchild of teacher Ms. DaMonica Robinson, and was held at OUSD’s Lockwood Child Development Center.
Since the 1980s, Ms. DaMonica’s classroom cultivates and invites children’s wonder, curiosity, brilliance and audacity to question everything in their pursuit to learn about the world around them. All subject matters are welcome for investigation, exploration and children’s hypothesis. It’s virtually a daily play-based learning lab for children to create the foundation to evolve to their best selves.
"Ms. DaMonica’s legacy as a compassionate, community oriented, and hands on “facilitator of children’s learning” continues to nurture children’s innate curiosity to learn within and outside the school walls….Now generations of children from Ms. DaMonica’s classrooms can reflect fondly on the teacher who helps to foster a sparkle of joy and positive disposition for learning."
-- OSSS collaborative member
Says Ms. DaMonica, “I had this vision a while back. At our CDC there were several men who were raising their children alone, being a stay-at-home dad, or facing custody battles, and during conferences all this information started to come out about how they were feeling. I knew all fathers needed more space to communicate and I wanted to create it.” Her participation in a Community of Practice sponsored by OSSS, where she read the book “Cultivating the Genius of Black Children,” sparked her to make her vision a reality.
She reached out to OUSD’s Kindergarten Readiness Director Maria Sujo and Alameda County Fathers Corps Director Kevin Bremond to plan the event. Twenty-two fathers and father figures attended the successful event, many of whom said they’d love to meet more regularly. Ms. DaMonica plans more opportunities to connect. Stay tuned!
More information about the OSSS 10 Promising Practices in Early Learning for Black Boys Community of Practice that inspired Ms. DaMonica is coming soon.