Adults sometimes ask: Aren’t prejudice, discrimination, and anti-bias adult issues? Why bring children into it? In one sense, these are adult issues. Adults have the power to create, to teach, to maintain bias—and to eliminate it. In another sense, because the realities of prejudice and discrimination begin to affect children’s development early, it is developmentally appropriate to address them in our work with young children.
Young children need caring adults to help them construct a positive sense of self and a respectful understanding of others. They need adults to help them begin to navigate and resist the harmful impact of prejudice and discrimination. A person’s early childhood years lay the foundation for a developmental and experiential journey that continues into adulthood. With appropriate adult guidance, this foundation will be a strong one, providing the base for the next stages of healthy development and the skills a person needs to thrive and succeed in a complex, diverse world.