“Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around” : learning about race in the early grades




Falkner, Anna Christine

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Young Children of Color in the United States are experiencing the effects of racism on a daily basis. There have been calls for anti-bias and anti-racist education across the field of education, yet most recommendations are based on older students or studies in laboratory settings. In this ethnographic study of two early childhood classrooms, children used diverse strategies to learn about race, racism, and difference across the school day. Children explored individual and collective racialized identities, investigated the role of race in the lives of children across time, and applied theories of justice to ideas about race. Their strategies were nuanced, embodied, and socio-historically and socio-culturally influenced. Teachers supported children’s inquiry by valuing and extending their learning and ideas. Findings suggest racial pedagogy should support students’ racial inquiry by acknowledging what they already experience, do, and wonder about race.


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