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 Carol Murray took place on February 3, 2021 remotely via Zoom. Carol is an early childhood educator and the Director at Wimpfheimer Nursery School at Vassar College, as well as the author of Illuminating Care: The Pedagogy and Practice of Care (Exchange press 2021). At the time of this interview, Carol was the Educational Director at the Bard Abigail Lundquist Botstein Nursery School and Children's Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. This is a third interview with Carol; the first two were recorded in July and August of 2020. In this interview, Carol reflects on the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on her teachers, her school, and herself. Carol's preschool continues to meet in-person and emphasizes an outdoor classroom model, though in the winter they have migrated inside more often. They have adopted a careful but not overly rigid policy in which children don't wear masks outside, wear masks inside, and where hand washing is highly emphasized. One theme of the interview is the relationship between care and play and the importance of each for children as well as adults. Carol discusses her efforts to create cultures of care for her teachers, many of whom are facing an increased burden of care at home with their families due to ripple effects of the pandemic. At this point in the pandemic, she reflects that many caregivers and educators are feeling wiped out after a fall with more energy and notes this in both her teachers and in her own personal life. She does note that the children she works with are doing quite well and attributes this to their relative privilege and family financial stability, compared to many other children across the country. In closing, Carol broadcasts a powerful message to educators everywhere to be brave by not being afraid to speak up loudly for what they know children need to learn and grow, and to name how our current educational model falls short from the authority of their own expertise and experience.
Noah Schoen is a community organizer and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the co-founder of Meanings of October 27th, an oral history project that has interviewed 105 Pittsburghers about their life histories and reflections on the October 27th, 2018 synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life building. He is also the Community Outreach Associate at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, where he works to strengthen the Center's approach to dismantling antisemitism and the injustices of today. A 2017-2018 JOIN for Justice Organizing Fellow and two-time "Don't Kvetch, Organize" course instructor, Noah has been listening and organizing in Jewish communities and the labor movement for over ten years.
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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.