Books, Dolls, Art, Anti-Bias

Submitted By:
Jenel Giles, Bank Street School For Children, New York, NY

As educators we sometimes feel a sense of discomfort when conversing with young children about race and equity. This sense can come from a desire to protect children from the very feelings that these conversations can elicit. Silence, however, is a powerful message. As such, this PBS Newshour segment reminds us that we need to lean into these conversations by highlighting the importance of anti-bias work with our youngest students. Experts such as Louise Derman-Sparks speak about the harm of the theory of color-blindness in young children. Sparks states that young children are noticing the world around them and the differences that exist. The teachers and administrators interviewed believe that the preschool setting is a unique environment to talk about topics of race and other types of diversity because families are more physically present and family is often a curricular topic. Materials such as books, dolls, and art invite play and conversation. As one teacher puts it, “[The preschool setting is] a safe place.  People develop relationships. It’s the perfect place for honest conversation.”