Teaching Social Awareness and Acceptance in First Grade

Will your child be starting first grade in Pembroke Pines? If so, then both of you are probably excited about this next step, and you may realize that now is a time of rapid development for your student. Read on to learn how your child can benefit from being introduced to social awareness and acceptance while he is in first grade. first - grade

Noticing Differences

Children become aware of differences between themselves and others around age 2 or 3. At these ages, they begin to differentiate between boys and girls, show curiosity in differences in hair and skin color, and become aware of obvious disabilities. Additionally, children start to develop racial identities and attitudes at a young age, and research suggests that kids as young as 3 who are exposed to racism and prejudice may embrace and accept these views, even if they don’t understand the feelings behind them. For these reasons, it can be beneficial to introduce first graders to the concepts of social acceptance and awareness at this stage in their development.

Reversing Biases

The bright side for any concerned parent is that biases which children pick up can be reversed and unlearned through positive exposure to diversity. Children have an inherent affinity for fairness, and harnessing this desire and using it as a springboard for conversations about bias and discrimination can help build social awareness and acceptance in children. On the other hand, research has shown that when not addressed, children will notice differences and may develop prejudices, even if they are not discussed by parents. Because of this, not talking to and teaching first graders about bias can allow discriminatory notions to become entrenched in their developing minds.

Learning Elementary Strategies

First grade is an ideal time to teach understanding, awareness, and social acceptance to children. For this purpose, experts recommend 5 strategies that can be beneficial to elementary school-aged children. Using children’s literature, teaching anti-bias lessons, exploring solutions, incorporating the news and media, and giving examples that they can recognize and understand are all ways in which first graders can be introduced to and taught social awareness and acceptance.