Module 1: Page 18
Chapter 5: Anti-Bias Program
Providing a Culturally Relevant, Anti-Bias Program
Not all materials produced for children are appropriate.
You should be especially careful with materials that are more than ten years old. Be a selective consumer. Throw out negatively stereotyped images and stories. To expand children’s understanding, look for materials that correctly and appropriately portray people from diverse backgrounds.
Young children do not understand concepts like “in the past” or “a long time ago". Pictures of people who are Native American should be contemporary, not pictures of a person dressed in the native clothing of 75 years ago.
There are many types of learning materials that can help children to become more aware of other people and celebrate their own heritage. When you are setting up your classroom, think of it as the “home away from home” for your children and families. Ask yourself, “How can I make this a warm and welcoming place for myself and for our families?”
Examples of materials to help ensure your setting is sensitive and respectful to all people include:
Books, pictures and materials accurately depicting men, women, and children of different family structures, races, cultures, ages, abilities, and occupations living their daily lives and solving problems (avoid any books that contain stereotyping roles and pictures)
Puzzles, pictures, and toys representing various cultures and non-traditional male and female occupations
Music from various cultures
Pictures representing a diversity of cultures and gender roles. Pictures will mean more to children if you discuss them before putting them up
Dramatic play materials encouraging a variety of gender play and role playing of persons in other cultures and with differing abilities
Male and female dolls representing a diversity of races, cultures, and abilities
Opportunities for children to experience a variety of languages in spoken, song, or written form, including Braille and Sign Language
Foods of different cultures for snack, lunch, and special celebrations
Activities to promote understanding, well-being, and acceptance of others
Activities to respect cultural and linguistic diversity
The child care program should be designed to be inclusive of all children, including children with identified disabilities and special learning and developmental needs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), effective 1992, states that people with disabilities, including physical, mental, and/or medical have rights in public accommodations, including early childhood programs.
Necessary modifications will vary depending upon the type and number of children with differing needs and abilities who are served by your program. The inclusion of children with disabilities or special learning and developmental needs may necessitate lower staff-child ratios, specialized staff training, and special environmental arrangement and equipment.