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Rachel Berman

Professor | Sabbatical Winter 2024
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 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.

  • CS8904 Theoretical Frameworks in ECS
  • CS8934 Special Topics in ECS
  • CLD 447 Equity Issues in Ontario ECE

Research projects:

  • From 2023-2025, I will be working with Dr. Janelle Brady (PI) as a co-applicant on the SSHRC Insight Development Grant project entitled "Honouring Black Refusal Through the Counter-Stories and Lived Experiences of Black Community Members in Early Childhood Education and Care: A Study with Black Mothers, Early Childhood Educators, and Elders".
  • During 2021-2022, I was team lead with co-investigators Dr. 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 partnered with the College of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario and the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario and offered a series of four two hour no-cost on-line workshops over four consecutive evenings. This project grew out of 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 sought to address these gaps through the workshop series where we shared tailored information about anti-racist practices, particularly those related to anti-Black racism, with over 300 participants from the ECE sector.
  • 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.



  • Butler, A., Abawi, Z. & Berman, R. (2024, forthcoming) Critical Race Theory in Canadian Educational Praxis. In C. Hillier and W. Bokhorst-Heng (Eds.), Diversity and multiculturalism in Canadian schools: Cultivating human flourishing. (pp. tbd) Canadian Scholars Press. 
  • 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:

  • YSGS Outstanding Contribution to Graduate Education Award, 2018