Fostering Tolerance & Respect

  • Children are born without biases about other people of any race, culture, gender, or disability.

    We sometimes wonder if we can raise children free of prejudice by just leaving well enough alone and making sure not to pass on negative attitudes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way; society’s messages are too pervasive. As parents and teachers, we need to take positive action if children are to grow up comfortable with who they are and respectful of others.

    We want to work with you to help counter society’s message of bias and reflect the cultural background of all the children and families. To begin with, we choose books, dolls, and even pictures on the wall with an eye to finding balance and showing children what they see too little of elsewhere. For instance, we make it a point of showing men and women of all ethnic backgrounds doing a variety of jobs, men as well as women doing household chores and spending time with children, and different kinds of families enjoying themselves. Upon enrollment and at every start of a school year, we ask parents questions about their family identity, cultures and customs, as well as any other pertinent information that can help us fine tune our classroom and curriculum to the background of each and every child so that every child and every family are included.

    Are we doing this to be “politically correct”? Not really. We’re committed to helping children grow up confident of their own identity, respectful of other people, and aware of the rich diversity of their community and world. We can do this only by working closely with our families, hearing your perspectives, and finding out more about the cultural background that each child brings to the program.

    Parents are even more important than teachers in children’s development of attitudes. If you have any questions about how our program is addressing issues of bias and diversity or if you want to talk over issues that arise at home, please let us know. Of course, we are far from having all the answers, but we want to hear what you are thinking and we are always happy to talk things over.