Working for just,

equitable, and quality

early childhood education and 

care for every young child.

May 2024 Update

Donate to Support Our Work
Defending the Early Years, Inc. is a
501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Donations are tax deductible.
Our Tax ID: 82-4308558
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6th Annual Summer Institute Schedule

Check out the line up for the three-day virtual DEY Summer Institute: Advancing Quality in Defense of Early Childhood Education and Care. We hope you will join us for an engaging, thought-provoking, important conversation!

Register Today

National Advisor News

Check out what our DEY 

National Advisors are up to! 

DEY National Advisor Introductory Videos

We invited our DEY National Advisors to make short introductory videos. Take a few minutes to get to know our amazing group of early childhood practitioners, advocates, and scholars. To learn more about our National Advisors, read their bios here.


Co-Founder, Love Our Children NC


Early Childhood Special Education Teacher


Beginning School and Auxiliary Programs Director at Charles Wright Academy

7th Edition of Bill Crain's Theories of Development

Theories of Development introduces students to the most influential theorists who have contributed to our understanding of how we develop as individuals The 7th edition includes updates to the chapters on Erikson and Piaget and a new chapter comparing treatment approaches to autism. Demonstrating how we might view the world differently at various stages of life, Theories of Development is a must-read for all students of psychology and education.

Honoring Childhood Podcast

DEY National Advisor Samuel Broaden hosts the Honoring Childhood Podcast. Check out season 2, episode one, with guest Kisa Marx (another DEY National Advisor)!

Click here to listen

DEY Banned Book Club Feature

Hair Love is family love! DEY National Advisor Dodah Yirusha recommends this book for all preschool-age children and shares her favorite part of the story.

DEY launched the Banned Book Club to resist the attempts to deny children the opportunity to learn from diverse books. Each month, we will feature a banned early childhood book that we encourage you to read to the children in your life. If you are interested in joining our Banned Book Club and promoting a banned book, email

BustED Pencils Features Nancy Carlsson-Paige

What would Matt Damon's mom say about the Science of Reading? Listen to DEY co-founder and board president Nancy Carlsson-Paige share her concerns about the Science of Reading with hosts Tim Slekar and Johnny Lupinacci!

DEY Celebrates Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Week

DEY proudly celebrated our first annual Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Week, May 6-10th. We imagined this week to be part of both Teacher Appreciation Week and National Child Care Provider Day while centering the work of early childhood educators in particular.

As a society, we have entrusted early childhood teachers and caregivers with the responsibility of educating, inspiring, supporting, and caring for our youngest children. In response to this charge, early childhood educators have answered with tireless effort, enduring patience, and the resolve to show up for their students every single day.

Through the week of gratitude, DEY aimed to uplift early childhood teachers and caregivers by recognizing their invaluable contributions to society and to the lives of the children and families they serve. And though Teacher Appreciation Week may have officially ended, we hope you will continue to show your appreciation to the early childhood educators in your life.

Consider Honoring an Early Childhood Educator by making a donation to our fundraiser!

Visit our Honor an Educator page

Mini-Grant Updates

Michelle Hemenway Pullen received a DEY mini-grant to provide over 100 copies of Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness to attendees at a luncheon with the author, Anastasia Higginbotham. Michelle also featured Not My Idea as part of the DEY Banned Book Club. Read more from Michelle in this article she co-authored with Anastasia for Exchange.

Putting Childhood First: An Interview with Author Anastasia Higginbotham About Approaching Difficult Topics Through Children's Books

"It seems to me a great cowardice on the part of the public to expect that it is going to be saved by a handful of children for whom they refuse to be responsible."

Read More
Apply for a DEY Mini-Grant by June 1st!

Advocacy Spotlight

Check out our Advocacy Spotlight, a series dedicated to highlighting advocacy efforts around the country to advance early childhood education. Our first spotlight is on Little Sun People Preschool in Brooklyn, NY, celebrating its use of culturally relevant teaching so its students learn to celebrate diversity and self-love. Amidst the debate on CRT, they argue that developing positive racial identity, resisting racism, and promoting acceptance begins in the early years. Visit our Advocacy Map to view more advocacy efforts. Do you know of early childhood advocacy happening in your community? Add it to our Advocacy Map!

DEY Advocacy Map

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Nancy Carlsson-Paige

Founder and Senior Advisor

Diane Levin

Founder and Senior Advisor

Blakely Bundy


Geralyn Bywater


Executive Director

Denisha Jones

Project Coordinator

Zoe Kim

Founding National Advisory Board 

Constance Kamii

Lilian Katz

Maurice Sykes

Sherry Cleary

Doris Pronin Fromberg 

Deborah Meier

Edward Klugman

DEY National Advisors

Suzanne Axelsson*

Heather Bernt-Santy*

Samuel Broaden*

Takiema Bunche Smith*

Erika Christakis

Bill Crain

Rixa Evershed*

Dale Farran*

Carol Garboden-Murray*

Laleña Garcia*

Michelle Gunderson

Tom Hobson*

Nadia Jaboneta*

Susan Linn

Melinda Marshall*

Kisa Marx*

Peter Rawitsch*

Kisha Reid*

Rukia Rodgers*

Ruth Rodriguez-Fay

Kaliris Yimar Salas-Ramirez*

James St. Clair

Judith Van Hoorn

Dodah Yirusha*

* New Advisor

Defending the Early Years, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Donations are tax deductible. Our Tax ID: 82-4308558
Support Our Work
Defending the Early Years

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