The Anti-Bias Environment is an excellent opportunity to educate children on an equal footing, with the opportunity to show aspects of the outside world, its interactions, and its features. Although this environment is not the most popular pedagogical orientation, it contributes to children’s rapid development. Its main part is that it allows them to develop critical thinking through practical examples at such an early age. However, what makes this approach different and elevates it in the hierarchy of other educational methods?
In order to look at all aspects of the Anti-Bias Environment in detail, we need to know what it is. In layman’s terms, it is a system, or environment, that allows all the differences between people, from race and background to language or sexual orientation, to be considered. It will enable children to come together, become more friendly, and not divide each other into weak and strong, beautiful and not so beautiful, big and small. It has a number of positive points of its own, such as deep reflection on one’s origins, the development of humanistic inclinations, as well as improved critical thinking and activism.
Although the concept is relatively recent and is not often used today, many parents themselves do not mind their child developing and learning socially and racially. It is also essential that such lessons help not only the children themselves but also their elders. The children are the creators of our future and will be responsible for the future world. I think many parents would agree that this methodology would be very useful and vital in today’s educational institutions.
There are a number of essential guidelines, or even rules, for creating a supportive Anti-Bias Environment. As the teacher deals with young children of preschool age, following these rules is an important prerequisite for their development without negative consequences (Wolpert, 2018). The work of the teacher is in itself very demanding, and it is essential to know the steps to follow for the best possible result.
The most important criterion in choosing this program is the teacher himself. As he/she has to set an example for the children, he/she also has to share the views he/she teaches the children. A person who supports racism or any kind of racial or sexual discrimination should not be allowed to work with children. It is the teacher who is fully responsible for the safety and upbringing of children, which is why this profession is very demanding and critical.
As mentioned earlier, the approach is based on an understanding of the diversity of people and their acceptance. Therefore, it is crucial for the teacher to observe how children communicate, to notice attempts to insult or humiliate another child, and to show how to act by example. At this age, children trust their teacher more than their parents, which means that the teacher, besides the goal of teaching something, should also become a psychologist, listen to the child and help at any cost.
At the same time, a teacher should not only observe children’s behavior and sayings but also limit them from unnecessary information. Censorship often seems like a bad sign, but in the context of educating children in an Anti-Bias Environment, it is essential to know that there are things that children should not know, such as “war,” “slavery,” or “homophobia.” Sometimes children can get hung up on themselves and become homophobic after a while, but the teacher should also come to the rescue and limit students from such character traits.
This approach also involves creating an atmosphere that is no different from that of the outside world: at home, with friends in the street, or when traveling to other cities. One should start each day as if it were a new page in the child’s life. If children don’t see differences in their surroundings at home or on the street, they won’t notice anything different in the learning environment either (Wolpert, 2018). They will see each other as complementary to what happens every day, which is already commonplace and no different from yesterday or tomorrow.
In addition to the children and teachers themselves, parents should not be forgotten. They are an essential part of the Anti-Bias Environment, as they are the ones who surround the children most of the time and take care of them. They need to communicate with parents, give pedagogical advice, and be consulted in case of a dispute. There are many educators who are afraid to communicate with children’s parents because they fear a backlash, such as dissatisfaction or lack of understanding. However, it is about children’s comfort and teaching them equality and fairness, where parents also play a significant role. It is therefore vital to communicate as often as possible and notice the nuances of each child and convey them during parental meetings, which will significantly improve the learning process.
The classroom itself, where the children play and socialize, plays an equally important role in helping them to learn. It is essential to understand that nothing should get in the way of their learning but rather push them. If many psychology textbooks on teaching in the early grades are to be believed, there is a recommendation to emphasize green or blue as it is the most soothing and pleasant color for children without causing aggression. In addition, children should be encouraged as often as possible to talk to each other, play, or engage in joint activities in other areas. They should learn to help each other and be on the same page. For this purpose, it is suggested to have a small library of children’s stories in the classroom. It is these that help children to comprehend the world around them, even within the walls of the school. It is also advisable to have more advanced technical equipment for watching cartoons, which also has an impact on the moral development of children. It is equally essential that all of this is in the classroom so that it does not interfere with children’s freedom of movement and safety.
Teaching children to live in such a diverse society at such an early age is a good idea. They should know from an early age that all people are equal, despite the diversity of cultures, languages, and genders. The earlier a child learns that – as an essential part of society as others, and that everyone, although different, is an incredible strength together, the easier it will be for them in the future. Although it is a long and complicated process, it is clearly vital and essential for the betterment of society, especially in times like these, where people have become as selfish as possible and act out of personal motives only.
Wolpert, E. (2018). Redefining the Norm: Early Childhood Anti-Bias Strategies. Web.