Three Actions You Can Take Right Now
Embrace curiosity. Be careful not to ignore or discourage children’s questions about differences among people, even if the questions make you uncomfortable. Not being open to such questions sends the message that difference is negative.
Widen your circle of knowledge and influence to include people from different backgrounds and cultures. Challenge your understanding, views and beliefs through listening to the voices, work and experiences of people of color in their own words.
For Your Classroom
Select books that depict children of color as the main character. Great books can promote tolerance and diversity and teach readers about different cultures. All children need to see themselves and their peers in the stories shared and discussed at school. Not only their classroom peers but the ones in the future workplaces too. Many great examples are shared in the resources section below.
Parents and educators
June 1, 2020, Dr. Jane Elliott discusses her “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise” and fighting racism with Jimmy Fallon
The Southern Poverty Law Center website offers a three-pronged strategy to battle racial and social injustice. One of those is Teaching Tolerance, a section dedicated to teaching young people from preschool on up. They have several resources helpful for parents and teachers. Beyond the Golden Rule, Parents Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice is a downloadable booklet on talking to kids about tolerance from ages 2 through 17. The Kindness Poster attributed to Fred Rogers is a downloadable poster to be used in homes or classrooms. Their Self-Guided Learning provides a range of materials—articles, modules, self-assessments, publications and more—that allow educators to improve their practice at their own pace.
Talking to Children About Racial Bias from healthychildren.org is a resource for parents to understand how children learn racial bias and strategies and tips for addressing racism and discrimination. An article, The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health, in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides a policy statement to an evidence-based document focused on the role of racism in child and adolescent development and health outcomes.
An article, The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health, in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides a policy statement to an evidence-based document focused on the role of racism in child and adolescent development and health outcomes.
An anti-bias program puts diversity and equity goals at the center of all aspects of its organization and daily life. Systemic change requires leaders who take an intentional and strategic approach. The Anti-Bias Leaders in Early Childhood Education website provides frameworks and strategies for addressing the big picture of working with staff, families and the community to create and sustain anti-bias programs.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children has resources to help early childhood educators become skilled anti-bias teachers, with practical guides to help you confront and eliminate barriers of prejudice, misinformation, and bias.
Culturally Affirming SEL Resources to Guide Children to Disrupt Racism is a piece that guides educators to self-evaluate and explains how social-emotional practices can be (or fail to be) anti-racist.
Edutpopia has five strategies for elementary schools to help young children’s understanding of differences to teach social justice through a variety of resources.
Our friends at Arkansas Association for Infant Mental Health hosted the webinar ‘Let’s talk: Our role in supporting racial equity in early childhood’
The Yale Child Study Center released this research study brief – ‘Do Early Educators’ Implicit Biases Regarding Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsions and Suspensions?’
Available this July, Crayola Colors of the World is a set of 24 new specially formulated crayons “designed to mirror and represent over 40 global skin tones across the world.”
Resources to help facilitate conversations about race, including classroom appropriate lesson plans, guides on how to have tough conversations with peers and students, and more can be found at National Education Association – EdJustice. Readers will find timely coverage of social justice issues in education and ways they can advocate for our students, our schools, and our communities.
Reading List for Children and Youth Positively Depicting Characters of Color
Books with Characters of Color is a Top Picks list created by Common Sense Media to help families find books with diverse characters. It includes more than 80 books of all genres for early readers through teens in high school.
The Conscious Kid creates booklists and resources about racial bias and injustice.
The Skokie Public Library Youth Services have created a collection of books that offer a starting place for exploring racism, prejudice, discrimination, and inequity in a manner accessible to youth.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture has ECE-specific resources on classroom activities and teacher learning.
Today’s Parent has a collection of 30 books that help get children thinking about racism and enable parents to begin those sometimes tough conversations.
Embrace Race shares a list of books that go beyond addressing issues of race and racism by also focusing on taking action. This list highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice.
PBS has created a list of 13 children’s books about race and diversity.
The Bookvine for Children has a section of multicultural books for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, as well as other categories.
The New York Times has assembled a great list of books and resources on how to talk to children about race and racism in an age-appropriate way. The list includes selections for infants and toddlers like Ezra Jack Keats’s books about Peter (“The Snowy Day,” “A Letter to Amy,” “Hi, Cat!,” “Whistle for Willie”). For preschoolers, the Times recommends “Saturday,” written and illustrated by Oge Mora, and “Hair Love,” by Matthew A. Cherry and illustrated by Vashti Harrison.
ZERO TO THREE also has a terrific list of books that feature a wide variety of characters and experiences, which they note “are a powerful way for all families to challenge stereotypes from the start.” They’ve also re-shared a resource with recommendations for talking about the complex issues of racism and equality in age-appropriate ways with children aged two to five years of age.
Researchers have identified an alarming lack of books about Black children in nature. Diversifying your bookshelf can help kids find themselves in literature—and the outdoors. Check out this list of The Best Books Featuring Black Children in the Outdoors provided here by Outside Online.