Latin School of Chicago

Latin Magazine Winter 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 53

Make no mistake, children notice differences, about skin color, gender, disability and even family configuration, and at younger ages than most parents assume. In November, Latin parents, faculty and staff heard from Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio, senior vice president of curriculum and content for Sesame Street Workshop, with Dr. Derrick Gay (who has served as a content advisor to Sesame Street for five years) moderating. The overarching theme of the program was how and why play can be integrated into the curriculum, as discussed in Truglio's new book, Sesame Street: Ready for School! A Parent's Guide to Playful Learning for Children Ages 2 to 5. However, the topic of differences came up a number of times. "Children notice differences; if we shush them, it teaches them it is something they shouldn't talk about," Truglio said. Parents thinking this work is inappropriate is one of the challenges Gay faces all the time. "Kids begin to understand and identify stereotypes at really young ages," he said in a separate conversation. "Parents think kids are unaware, but all the research points otherwise." Take gender. "Gender stereotypes, for example, are well established by age 5," he said. As for race, "Children understand racial differences at 3 to 5 years old, and they understand the different value judgments that are sometimes attached to race." Gay notes that he has not yet been to a school where there hasn't been an incident of a young child telling another, "I don't want to play with you because your skin is brown," or boys excluding girls from activities like soccer, telling the girls that they are less skilled. At the program, Gay also touched on the ability of young children to be more accepting than their parents. "Sometimes it has much less to do with the child than the adults," he said. "Adults can project adult questions they think that a child is going to have." Gay recounted an anecdote where some parents of first graders were worried about introducing a family of two dads to their children. The question the kids had? "Who does the cooking?" Truglio said that one of the goals of her book was to provide a snapshot for what is developmentally appropriate at ages 2 through 5. She acknowledged the difficulty in talking to children about differences. "Children are coming from a place of curiosity. We have to give parents and teachers the language to talk about differences." AT WHAT AGE IS IT APPROPRIATE TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT DIFFERENCES? LATIN MAGAZINE » WINTER 2020 25 LATIN MAGAZINE » WINTER 2020 25

Articles in this issue

view archives of Latin School of Chicago - Latin Magazine Winter 2020