Equity & Diversity Letter to the Editor

An Educator Shares Lessons on Inclusivity From Preschoolers

August 16, 2022 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As described in the piece, “Want to Build a Kinder, More Inclusive School? These Students Have Ideas” (May 25, 2022), equity and diversity are contemporary issues for preschool children just as they are for high schoolers. Based on my observations of discussions in my preschool classroom, I’ve noticed that young children crave the following:

1. Truth. While high schoolers want history teachers to stop sugarcoating slavery, preschoolers want adults to stop sugarcoating reality. One of my preschoolers was injured in a shooting. When she returned, the children asked, “What happened? Can you use your words and tell us?” As her small voice described the violent act, the reading rug became a sacred space for small children to share their own stories.

2. Fair practices. Children can also discuss what they perceive to be discriminatory or unfair. Teachers can use these moments as opportunities to cultivate student thinking. For example, when one child questioned the rule about bringing toys to school, I asked him why. He responded, “Miss Laura, I want my toy, I want to have a calm body. We have to have a calm body for school, so that rule isn’t fair.”

3. For others to check their privilege. Lastly, children are interested in fair play and are mindful of privilege. For the most part, privilege for children is reflected in the access and economic status of parents. Once after spring break, a child shared stories about Disney World. Another child mentioned their mom said they couldn’t afford it, to which I replied, “You shouldn’t give up. Sometimes your goals are accomplished later in life.”

Discussions involving equity, discrimination, and privilege resonate with preschoolers. Through discussions, adults can encourage thinking while showing children positive ways to embrace inclusivity. Young children will take notice; they always have something to say.

Laura Petillo
Educator and Administrator
Red Bank, N.J.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 17, 2022 edition of Education Week as An Educator Shares Lessons on Inclusivity From Preschoolers


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Assessment Webinar
Reimagining Grading in K-12 Schools: A Conversation on the Value of Standards-Based Grading
Hear from K-12 educational leaders and explore standards-based grading benefits and implementation strategies and challenges
Content provided by Otus
Reading & Literacy Webinar How Background Knowledge Fits Into the ‘Science of Reading’ 
Join our webinar to learn research-backed strategies for enhancing reading comprehension and building cultural responsiveness in the classroom.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Assessment Webinar
Innovative Strategies for Data & Assessments
Join our webinar to learn strategies for actionable instruction using assessment & analysis.
Content provided by Edulastic

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Students Push Schools to Overhaul Dress Codes: Their Success Stories and Lessons Learned
How girls and LGBTQ+ students punished for dress code violations fought to overhaul district policies.
6 min read
Composite of 3 individuals, two looking at the camera and from behind playing the piano.
Courtesy photos
Equity & Diversity Laws That Limit Teaching About Race and Gender Imperil Music Instruction
Music educators in states with laws restricting discussions of race, gender, and sexuality aren't sure how to explain spirituals or jazz.
4 min read
Image of a female student playing the flute, and another student in the background playing a horn.
Equity & Diversity How Can Schools Help Students Process Racial Trauma? A New Program Provides Answers
The pilot program sheds light on the role schools play in helping students heal from racial trauma.
6 min read
Illustration of a woman of color in distress with hands in her face and hair blowing upwards.
Equity & Diversity Q&A How Schools Can Address Racial Stressors, An Expert Explains
A Stanford researcher looks at how schools play a role in interventions for students of color dealing with racial stressors.
6 min read
Student alone in an empty school hallway (blurred). Bullying, discrimination and racism.
Pornpak Khunatorn/iStock/Getty