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Key Readings on Children’s Development of Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity

Author: Mariajosé Romero
Publication Date: July 2010

This is an excerpt from the full bibliography

Overview

This resource includes a sample of research and policy books, articles, reports, and other resources on how children from birth to 10 years of age develop concepts related to social inclusion and respect for diversity (SI & RD). Three separate research traditions directly or indirectly address this question:

  • Research from developmental, cognitive, and social psychology, which explores processes in laboratory settings. Issues examined include: prejudice development; intergroup contact; racial perspective taking ability and racial attitudes; implicit and explicit biases and stereotypes; empathy; attachment; social categorization and social identity; and perceived threat and stereotype threat. Questions remain about how the research findings are circumscribed to the broader context within which research takes place or how they may apply to children’s natural contexts.
  • Research from multicultural education and critical cultural studies of education, schools and peer cultures, which examines children in schools, peer groups, and other contexts where they grow and develop. Based on an analysis and critique of how society, culture, and the economy structure children’s experiences and trajectories, this literature explores such issues as: peer cultures; class, race and gender stratification and socialization; teacher-student interaction; teacher preparation; and school curriculum and school knowledge, among others. Questions remain about how the processes of identity formation, group formation, exclusion, attachment, or solidarity discussed in this literature are grounded on children’s psychological capacities and developmental stages.
  • The literature in early childhood education, describing direct work with young children and their caregivers. Based largely on the anti-bias work of Louise Derman-Sparks* and to a lesser extent on multicultural education, this literature examines issues of teacher perspectives; teacher preparation; curriculum content, specifically with regards to rationales for selecting story books and literacy activities; and the role of media. With a somewhat weak theoretical and empirical basis, this literature proceeds with little discussion of the psychological foundations or the social, political, cultural and economic contexts within which children grow and develop.

There is, however, little communication and cross-fertilization across these traditions, resulting in the lack of a consistent, articulated message from the research to the community of program evaluators, practitioners, teachers and trainers, and policymakers in early childhood education.

This resource constitutes an effort to facilitate the introduction of researchers new to the field of SI & RD, as well as of professionals and stakeholders in early childhood education, to the key research findings on how young children develop concepts related to SI & RD; the role of schools, preschools, peer groups, families and communities; and promising practices in early education. The list presents each citation followed by a brief description, organized according to broad topical categories within each research tradition:

  • Research from psychology and related disciplines: implicit bias; intergroup contact; prejudice development and reduction; racial attitudes and perspective taking; social categorization and social identity;
  • Research from critical cultural studies and multicultural education: identities and peer cultures; racial segregation; school mechanisms of social exclusion; curricula and educational knowledge; teachers; and
  • Research from early childhood education: identities and peer cultures; education workforce; teacher preparation; curricula and educational knowledge; the role of media.

For a more exhaustive list of research publications since 2005 see Romero, Mariajosé. 2010. An Annotated Bibliography on Children’s Development of Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

For publications prior to 2005, with a greater emphasis on respect for diversity and tolerance see Romero, Mariajosé. 2008. Annotated Bibliography: Promoting Tolerance and Respect for Diversity in Early Childhood. National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

For a definition of the broad topical categories and a summary of key research findings see Romero, Mariajosé. 2010. Promoting Social Inclusion and Respect for Diversity in Early Childhood: What are the Research Findings? Report of a Meeting, Nov. 6, 2008. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

* Derman-Sparks, Louise. 1990. Anti-bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children; Derman-Sparks, Louise. The ABC Task Force. 1989. The Anti-bias Curriculum: Tools for Empowering Young Children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children; and Derman-Sparks, Louise; Phillips, Carol B. (1997). Teaching/Learning Anti-racism: A Developmental Approach. New York: Teachers College Press.