This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Anna Siegal took place via Zoom on August 26, 2020. At the time of this interview, Anna was the Executive Director of Red Hook Playgroup, a progressive, community-based early education school for children between the ages of 2 and 5, based in Red Hook, NYC. Red Hook Playgroup was coming back in-person in the fall with three small classrooms and fewer students than usual. In this interview, Anna speaks often about the larger questions she has been pondering about the state of private early childhood education and whether it is necessary or needed in her community. She feels that if she, her teachers, and her community find that in this time, running a tuition-based school does not match their values when it comes to justice, community need, and equity, they might close the school. She sees a larger reckoning about education coming.
Anna touches on the toll that non-stop work has taken on her health, but said that she is surprisingly doing okay. She is proud to have gained as much knowledge and skill as she has during the COVID-19 pandemic, but expresses anger that it was due to massive leadership failures at city, state, and national levels. Anna is excited to help the kids rebuild some community bonds with one another and to help them understand and process the last five months.
Liam McBain is an associate producer for NPR's It's Been a Minute. He's also on a mission to read 100 books this year.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.