Discussing race with preschoolers

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Discussing race with preschoolers

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What we know about pre-schoolers is they're just sponges, learning everything. They're categorizing everything, they are putting the circles with the circles, and the triangles with the triangles, so guess what. Race is a perfect topic to talk to them about, because it's about difference. It's about a noticeable difference. So at these very young ages, it's actually really important that we talk about these differences. We want to spend time saying look, my skin is this color, your skin is that color, we are different. Why is that? Oh, there's this thing called melanin that makes our skin be different colors. We want to talk about it in calm knowledgeable ways that acknowledges those differences and isn't afraid of them. We want to give them language, because language it turns out for kids, especially young kids who are very concrete thinkers, language is armor. And we want to give them armor to be able to respond to the millions of questions they are going to get out in the world. Sometimes even when we are not there. So it is very important that we talk about these things, and that we be concrete about these things. Give them values. Talk about stories that reflect them, make sure they see people and see us valuing other people of color. So we want to be very concrete. We want to notice race. And just talk about it. Set the tone. It will last you a lifetime if you do it.

Watch Beth Hall's video on Discussing race with preschoolers...

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Beth Hall

Director, Pact - An Adoption Alliance

Beth Hall is an adoption educator who co-founded Pact, An Adoption Alliance, which is a multicultural adoption organization dedicated to addressing essential issues affecting adopted children of color. Pact offers lifelong support and placement services for birth and adoptive families with adopted kids of color. A national speaker, she is also the author of numerous articles and a book, Inside Transracial Adoption, which is filled with personal stories, practical suggestions, and theory, and delivers the message that race matters; racism is alive; and families built transracially can develop strong and binding ties. In 2010 she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award, from the Adoption Initiative at St. John's University. She currently serves as a contributing author and advisory board member for “Adoption Clubhouse,” a project promoting positive identity in transracially adopted children for the Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption and as an Advisory Board Member for the On Your Feet Foundation, dedicated to supporting birth mothers of adopted children.Commitment to family is a way of life for Beth. She is the white adoptive mom of two young adults: Sofia, a Latina, and James, an African American. Beth grew up a member of an adoptive family—her sister, Barbara, was adopted. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and sometimes her adult children, when they are home.

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