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Rachel Berman

Professor and Graduate Program Director
OfficeKHS 363-F, Kerr Hall South
Phone416-979-5000 ext. 557695
Areas of Expertise'Race' and anti-racism in early childhood settings; perspectives of children and youth; mothering; methods of inquiry, including social research with children and critical qualitative inquiry.

Rachel Berman is an immigrant and white settler who grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which is the traditional territory of many nations including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and is covered by Treaty 13. Rachel is a Professor and the Graduate Program Director in the School of Early Childhood Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University and an adjunct member to the graduate program in Gender, Feminist & Women's Studies at York University. Her research and teaching focus on ‘race’ in early childhood settings, theoretical frameworks, in particular critical race theory and feminist theories, and critical qualitative methods. Her research has appeared in the International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Journal, the Journal of Childhood Studies, Children & Society, and the International Journal of Qualitative Methods amongst others.

  • CS 8903: Children Families Communities
  • CS 8904: Theoretical Frameworks for Early Childhood Studies
  • CS 8930: Social Research with Children 
  • CLD 332: Families in Canadian Society ll

Research projects:

  • I am currently (2021-2022) co-investigators with Dr.s Beverly-Jean Daniel, Alana Butler, and Zuhra Abawi, and collaborator Natalie Royer, MA on the SSHRC Connections Grant, "Give Race its Place: An Anti-Racist Knowledge Sharing Initiative for Early Childhood Educators". Our team has partnered with the College of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario and the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario to offer a series of workshops. This current project stems from our 2014 SSHRC IDG project, which revealed that acts of racism in early childhood education spaces are systematically ignored and overlooked to the detriment of racialized children, families, and communities (Berman, Daniel, Butler, Royer, & MacNevin 2017; Daniel & Escayg, 2019; MacNevin & Berman, 2017). Our IDG project also revealed a lack of anti-racism knowledge among early childhood educators and a lack of access to practical research-based information. We will address these gaps through the workshop series where we will share tailored information about anti-racist practices, particularly those related to anti-Black racism, with ECEs in Ontario.
  • During 2014-2016, I was the Principal Investigator on a SSHRC Insight Development Grant project entitled, "Can we talk about race? Confronting Colour-Blindness in ECE settings." This project examined ways to foster conversations about race in early childhood settings.
  • During 2008-2011, I was part of the SSHRC funded multi-university, interdisciplinary project examining adolescent well-being in military families, external link, opens in new window.
  • From 2006-2009, I was involved in a community based project funded by the Canadian Council on Learning that sought success stories and examined barriers to immigrant women's English language learning.
  • From 2002-2005, I participated in a community based research project funded by Human Resources Development Canada that developed an evaluation toolkit based on what family support program participants value.



  • Hall, P. & Berman, R. (2022). What Early Childhood Educators need to know about fostering Black children’s positive identification with Blackness-Foregrounding mother's perspectives. In J. Lehrer, F. Hadley, K. Van Laere, and E. Rouse, (Eds.) Relationships with Families in Early Childhood Education and Care: Beyond Instrumentalization in International Contexts of Diversity and Social Inequality. (pp.71-81). Routledge.
  • Berman, R. (2020). Critical Race Theory. In D. T. Cook (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of children and childhood studies (pp. 572-575). Sage Publications.
  • Berman, R. & Abwai, Z. (2019). Thinking and doing otherwise: Reconceptualist contributions to early childhood education and care. In S. Jagger (Ed.), Early years education and care in Canada: A historical and philosophical overview (pp. 165-190). Canadian Scholars Press.
  • Barnikis, T., MacNevin, M. & Berman, R. (2019). Participatory research with children: Critical reflections. In I. Berson, M. Berson & C. Gray (Eds.), Participatory methodologies to elevate children's voice and agency (pp. 3-24). Information Age Publishing.
  • Berman, R. (2018). Families caring for children in the 21st century. In A. Gazso & K. Kobayashi (Eds.), Continuity and innovation: Canadian families in the new millennium (pp. 183-198). Nelson.
  • Berman, R. & MacNevin, M. (2017). Adults researching with children. In X. Chen, R. Raby, & P. Albanese (Eds.), The sociology of childhood and youth in Canada (pp. 24-46). Canadian Scholars Press.

Journal articles:

  • Berman, R., Abawi, Z., Haile, F., Escayg, K-A, Butler, A., Royer, N. & Daniel, B-J, (2022). Give Race Its Place: An Anti-racism Knowledge-sharing Initiative for Early Childhood Educators in Ontario. eceLINK, 6(1), 42-54.
  • Abawi, Z. E., & Berman, R. (2019). Politicizing early childhood education and care in Ontario: Race, identity and belonging. Journal of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership in Education, 4(2), 4-13.
  • Abawi, Z., Berman, R., & Powell, A. (2019). Gender, race, and precarity- theorizing the parallels between early childhood educators and sessional faculty in Ontario. Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice, 40(1), 45-60., external link, opens in new window
  • Berman, R., Daniel, B.-J., Butler, A., MacNevin, M., & Royer, N. (2017). Nothing, or almost nothing, to report: Early childhood educators and discursive constructions of colorblindness. International Critical Childhood Policy Studies Journal, 6(1), 52-65., external link, opens in new window
  • Escayg, K,-A., Berman, R., & Royer, N. (2017). Canadian children and race: Toward an antiracism analysis. Journal of Childhood Studies, 42(2), 10-21., external link, opens in new window
  • MacNevin, M., & Berman, R. (2016). The Black baby doll doesn’t fit the disconnect between early childhood diversity policy, early childhood educator practice, and children’s play. Early Child Development and Care, 187(5-6), 827-839., external link, opens in new window
  • Harrison, D., Albanese, P., & Berman, R. (2014). Parent-adolescent relationships in military families affected by PTSD. Canadian Social Work Review, 31(1), 81-103.
  • Di Santo, A., & Berman, R. (2012). Beyond the preschool years: Children’s perceptions about starting kindergarten. Children and Society, 26(6), 469-479., external link, opens in new window
  • Berman, R.C., & Tyyskä, V. (2011). A critical reflection on the use of translators/interpreters in a qualitative cross-language research project. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 10(2), 178-190., external link, opens in new window
  • Ajodhia-Andrews, A., & Berman, R. C.  (2009). Exploring school life from the lens of a child who does not use speech to communicate. Qualitative Inquiry, 15(5), 931- 951.
  • Berman, R. C., & Wilson, L. (2009). Pathologizing or validating: Intake workers’ discursive constructions of mothers. Qualitative Health Research, 19(4), 444-453., external link, opens in new window 
  • Charles, N., & Berman, R. C. (2009). Positive constructions of the mother-child relationship:  Listening to mothers with children with ASD. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 11(1), 180-198.
  • Kediye, F., Valeo, A., & Berman, R. C. (2009). Somali-Canadian mothers’ experiences in parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 11(1), 211-223.
  • Guruge, S., Berman, R., Tyyskä, V., Kilbride, K. M, Woungang, I., Edwards, S., & Clune, L. (2009). The implications of English proficiency on immigrant women’s access to and utilization of health services. Women’s Health & Urban Life: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal, 8(2), 21-42. PDF file, external link, opens in new window
  • YSGS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award, 2018