When I consider a hope that I have when I think about working with children and families who come from diverse backgrounds, I immediately consider how important it is to treat each child and family as equals. Doing this and holding each child equally accountable, equally responsible and ultimately treating them fairly (understanding that fair isn’t always equal, but it is never biased), we teach them valuable lessons. My hope is that the importance of teaching empathy in my program teaches the children enrolled in our program to respect each other, respect the differences between them and be responsive to the needs and feelings of others.
One goal I would like to set for the early childhood field related to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice is the continued inclusion of social emotional curriculum in early childhood education. I firmly believe that direct and specific instruction, exposure and practice showing empathy in the classroom at a young age will help children grow into understanding individuals. Showing children and families empathy helps develop it and we could all use more empathy in the world.