How St. Andrew's Preschool is Redefining the Norm
by Nina Sanborn, November 23, 2020
Our current society is one where many biased ideas exist related to race, gender, family composition, ethnicity, etc. The assumption is normally made that children do not notice differences related to these biases, yet they in fact do notice differences. At a very young age they “quickly learn from their environment to attach values to those differences and to mimic the dominant society’s discriminatory behavior unless those biases and behaviors are challenged. Children need help recognizing and challenging bias rather than internalizing it” (Wolpert).
St. Andrews Preschool has always valued each child and family as they are- so to continue to embrace differences, we have decided to create and implement an anti-bias curriculum to incorporate within our current curriculum. The importance of this approach is to support children in learning to respect and embrace differences among others, and help place positive value on those differences. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is an organization that works to promote high quality early learning for young children. NAEYC created four core goals to provide a framework for the practice of anti-bias education with children. The four goals we consider throughout this curriculum are: 1. Identity 2. Diversity 3. Justice 4. Activism (Derman-Sparks).
This year’s curriculum focuses mainly on anti-racism. Every month we introduce and discuss two different Very Important People (VIP) of color and something positive and/or historical that they have done. The children ask questions, we read stories, and engage in many different hands-on activities to promote further learning and understanding about these VIPs. The children are enjoying the process of creating portraits of these VIPs using special “people colored” crayons, markers, paint, paper and even playdough!
We hope to continue to bring positivity and education to our teachers and students to help build a community of proud children and a more just society. We hope to do this by building those four main anti-bias goals- helping children develop a strong sense of self, express comfort and joy with human diversity, recognize and describe unfairness, and feel empowered to stand up against prejudice.
Derman-Sparks, Louise. “Understanding Anti-Bias Education:Bringing the Four Core Goals to Every Facet of Your Curriculum.” NAEYC, 2019, https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/nov2019/understanding-anti-bias. Accessed 20 11 2020.
Wolpert, Ellen. “Redefining the Norm: Early Childhood Anti-Bias Strategies.” www.teachingforchange.org, 2012, https://www.teachingforchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ec_redefiningthenorm_english.pdf. Accessed 15 06 2020.
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