Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg
Scholar. Writer. Creative. Storyteller.
Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. As an anti-racist and anti-colonial scholar committed to fostering Pan-African unity and racial equity in the early years, Dr. Escayg—via both pedagogy and research—challenges racial and attendant economic injustices affecting Black children and families in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. Theoretical approaches ranging from Black feminism, anti-colonialism, and anti-racism, to Caribbean anti-colonial theory, as well as creative expressions of resistance including short stories, poetry, and other fictional modes, combine to inform her scholarly and creative output. Dr. Escayg has also developed and advocates for “anti-racism in early childhood
education”. Recently, she further established this pedagogical model by creating an anti-racist professional development program consisting of several interrelated study modules for early childhood educators.
Professional experience as an elementary teacher in Toronto, Canada, affords Dr. Escayg a breadth of understanding regarding the instruction of young children, specifically regarding the emergence of culturally relevant learning opportunities in the areas of literacy and drama. Indeed, it was while teaching drama to kindergarten students in 2014 that she penned a series of children’s books for use in her classroom which became popular among the four- to seven-year-olds, presaging issues pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusion: John the little mango, Jasmine and the bad bee, and The Kangaroo stole my headband! (with the anticipated publication date of the entire collection slated for December, 2021).
Reflections on Teaching
“Storytelling, by way of incorporating the lived
experiences of oppressed groups, along with reflections on my own former teaching experiences, plays a key role in my approach to pedagogy. I continue to advance methods by which to facilitate “perspective taking” in my students. For example, how can I help my students to identify relationships between positionality and privilege? How can facilitators help them interrogate and discover personal biases? How can we create a vibrant—and yet critical—learning space by way of supporting students’ apperception of the pervasive effects of anti-Black racism? My goal is not singularly to teach; my goal is to transform academe and social mores by providing my students with the requisite critical skills to become effective anti-racist educators and anti-racist global citizens.
To this end, change takes place in
— DR. KERRY-ANN ESCAYG
An avid reader, Dr. Escayg enjoys Caribbean, African American, African, and Victorian literature. In her spare time, she composes short stories and poetry which reflect her lived experiences, infused with Christian literary themes, appeals to Pan-African unity, and creative imaginings of a more just global society. Her most recent short stories include titles such as “Lineage of Liberation” and “On the Battlefield.”
“I aim to create stories that elicit the range of
human emotions—from joy to sorrow or from outrage to sympathy—and to provoke reactions such as laughter or tears, as the case may be… stories that humanize weaknesses, youthful indiscretions, and indeed, even trauma. Pain is an inevitable aspect of the human experience, and many confront their disproportionate share of it. Thus, when developing characters, I consider the overall story arc and what I want a character to accomplish in both the mind and heart of the reader. A character becomes the default voice of a loving parent, a loyal friend, or a wise counsellor. How can characters help us to reflect on our own experiences? Additionally, how can a character stimulate compassion and
forgiveness, or bring healing to suppressed pain? In essence, I strive to write the kind of stories that we all need to read:
stories that remind us we are
human and thus, fallible.”
— DR. KERRY-ANN ESCAYG