By Dr. Karla Manning | Categories All | Choices | Critical Thinking | Curriculum | Diversity | Early Education | Educators | Engagement - Classroom | Engagement - Community | Engagement - Family | Equity | Inclusion | K-5 Literacy | Opportunity Gap | Parents | Reading | Social Emotional Learning | May 21, 2021

Early Childhood Education is a vital foundation for children of tender age. Not only are they introduced to various experiences, but they are also taught how to form and maintain positive social relationships, a sense of belonging, and developing specific skills to reach their full potential.

We see regular acts of racism, sexism, and prejudice being displayed among people of all ages in society. The need for greater diversity, inclusion, and equity is becoming more evident, from videos we see on social media to news headlines.

Raising a tolerant, accepting, fair and empathetic child should start from an early age. Incorporating equity and inclusion into the early childhood curriculum is one of the best ways to do this.

Equity is simply displaying the quality of being fair and impartial. On the other hand, inclusion is incorporating people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.

Educators incorporating equity and inclusion in the classroom will help them to combat prejudice and racial discord by supporting positive behaviors among students, fostering a sense of belonging for all students and their families, and teaching respect for everyone.

How Do Children Benefit from Incorporating Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculum?

The benefits of inclusion and equity are numerous for all children. Schools including these vital lessons into their curriculum can help children to reach their developmental potential. We have compiled a list of some of the many benefits of successfully incorporating inclusion and equity.

      • Improved problem-solving skills
      • Develop positive self-image
      • Respect for others
      • Independence
      • Improved communication
      • Being accepting of differences
      • Being more understanding
      • Having perspective
      • Promotes tolerance
      • May reduce bullying
      • Being able to recognize unfair and discriminatory scenarios


How Can your School Incorporate Inclusion and Equity in Early Childhood Curriculums?

It is no secret that children are more comfortable, grounded, and able to learn more when their school, classmates, and instructors respect their diversity.

Strategies that schools can use to successfully incorporate and promote inclusion and equity in early childhood curriculums include:

Use a multi-tiered system of support

Using this strategy involves Collaborating with early childhood special educators and other allied education and health professionals when needed. Facilitate each professional establishing a relationship with each child to maximize potential.

Provide high-quality early childhood learning resources that demonstrate a commitment to equitable outcomes for all children.

Schools can arrange budgets within their means to equitably meet the needs of children and staff. Recognize that high-quality programs will positively reflect the values, beliefs, and practices of specific children, families, and communities.

Develop opportunities for multiple voices with different perspectives to participate in decision-making.

Recognize that unspoken biases have often resulted in limited opportunities for members of marginalized groups.

Prepare current and prospective early childhood educators to provide equitable learning opportunities to all children.

Schools can ensure that educators understand the historical and systemic issues that have created structural inequities in society, including in early childhood education.

Involve children, families, and the community in the design and implementation of learning activities.

Involving children, families, and the community in learning activities will help children to embrace the idea of inclusion and equity. This will also help to build a sense of belonging with those involved.

Introducing and incorporating equity and inclusion into early childhood curriculums will benefit children and the instructors, family, and the wider community. This strategy will also help build a better future where people will practice more accepting and respectful lifestyles.

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By Dr. Karla Manning

Dr. Karla Manning is an educational equity consultant and CUNY University Lecturer who helps educators and school leaders strengthen their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and initiatives.

In 2020, Karla launched The Equity Leadership Group, LLC – a consulting company providing diversity, equity, and inclusion services to K-12 school superintendents, principals, and teachers.

Karla has a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction (Multicultural Teacher Education) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Tennessee State University.

She has 13+ years of teaching experience, teaching in all grades of K-12, higher education, and international teaching.

She currently works with K-12 school superintendents, principals, and educators who need support with building equitable and inclusive classrooms and school districts.  Some consulting projects currently include:

  • Developing Black History curriculum and lesson plans for grades K-12
  • Providing small group coaching and support consultations regarding the teaching of anti-racism, culturally responsive education, and anti-biased teaching
  • Providing professional development workshops on educational equity and inclusion.
  • Conducting equity needs assessments & strategic planning

Karla hosts The Equity Experience Podcast, an audio space for K-12 educators and school leaders who are dedicated to pursuing equity and inclusion in their schools, districts, and organizations.

Dr. Karla Manning is originally from Chicago, IL and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family. Connect with Karla on LinkedIn.

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