Why Not Now?: Exploring Race, Identity, and Differences in Early Childhood
Ashley Nartey & Taylor Fitzpatrick, Directing Teachers

Ms. Nartey has always had a passion for exploring aspects of anti-bias education and diversity, and Ms. Fitzpatick has always loved incorporating social-emotional thinking and feelings into early childhood education. After teaching together during their Sunshine year, they noticed an underlying theme that emerged throughout the different units - having different points-of-view and valuing how we all see things differently. Ms. Nartey and Ms. Fitzpatrick realized the importance of having a diversity lens in the preschool classroom and how easy it is to implement. They wanted to share how simple and beneficial it is to explore ideas surrounding differences and diversity. Selected from over 500 submissions, Ms. Nartey and Ms. Fitzpatrick are thrilled to present at the NAIS People of Color Conference(PoCC) and to share their lessons and experiences with talented faculty and members of NAIS from around the country. 


Why Not Now?: Exploring Race, Identity and Differences in Early Childhood

The topic of race, identity and differences are often overlooked in early childhood education. Research shows that at around one and two years of age, children are curious about physical characteristics of self and others (skin color, hair texture, gender anatomy). But what happens when questions surrounding these subjects arise in school? It is essential, now more than ever, to start these discussions at a young age. How then, do we approach these complex topics?  Discover our collaborative process of teaching young children about identity and differences through an emergent, play-based curriculum. Explore the use of books, materials and activities both abstract and concrete, designed to help open young minds. Learn about resources and ideas you can differentiate for children of all needs and engage in interactive activities. Engage in an interactive exercise It’s so easy to take for granted what children understand, so we shouldn’t be afraid to broach this topic. Follow us as we share our experiences from a year of helping children begin to understand different points of view. Depart with tools to inspire our young children to observe, value others that look different then they do, take pride in themselves and their families, build self-confidence and empathy. Leave feeling empowered and ready to do the same for your young students.