By Louise Derman-Sparks, Julie Olsen Edwards, and Catherine M. Goins
Early-childhood educators have deep faith in the principle that all people deserve the opportunities and resources to fulfill their complete humanity. Moreover, we have a unique role in making this principle real, in promoting all children’s chances to thrive and to succeed in school, in work, and in life. Anti-bias work is essentially optimistic work about the future for our children. It provides teachers a way to examine and transform their understanding of children’s lives and do self-reflective work to more deeply understand their own lives.
Anti-bias education has four core goals:
Goal 1: Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
Goal 2: Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity, accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connections.
Goal 3: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
Goal 4: Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice or discriminatory actions.
The heart of anti-bias work is a vision of a world in which all children are able to blossom, and each child’s particular abilities and gifts are able to flourish. In this world:
- All children and families have a sense of belonging and experience affirmation of their identities and cultural ways of being.
- All children have access to and participate in the education they need to become successful, contributing members of society.
- The educational process engages all members of the program or school in joyful learning.
- Children and adults know how to live, learn, and work together in diverse and inclusive environments respectfully and easily.
- All families have the resources they need to fully nurture their children.
- All children and families live in safe, peaceful, healthy, comfortable housing and neighborhoods.
Adapted from Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, published by NAEYC in 2020.