In 2016 and 2017 ACT for SJ facilitators, Angela Berkfield and Mikaela Simms, worked with over 40 local early educators in 9 workshops to better understand race, class, gender and how it shows up in early learning environments.
We used the following points From Anti-Bias Education by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards
Here’s what we know:
- Kids are curious about their own and others’ physical and cultural characteristics.
- Children begin to construct a personal sense of self and their social identities from the time they are born.
- Children are learning about their own and others’ social identities through both overt and covert messages and they are learning who is and who isn’t important.
- As early as 2 children show signs of pre-prejudice as they absorb negative attitudes and stereotypes about others.
And are 4 important goals for what children are learning in early learning programs:
- Children will learn and demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride and positive social identities.
- Children will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences; and deep, caring human connections.
- Children will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe it, and understand that unfairness hurts.
- Children will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discrimination.
With early educators we used a variety of activities, resources, film clips, children’s books, and group discussion. The discussion was deep, heartfelt, and because we got to spend time with educators over a one year time-period it was possible to see a change in demonstrated thinking and action.