- Foster a Sense of Self
- Celebrate Differences in Others
- Teach About Fairness
- Try It
- Wrap Up
- cultural diversity: the different beliefs, religions, languages, family heritage, socio-economic background, and ethnicities in a group
- ethnicity: a societal grouping based on place of origin of a person and his or her ancestors
- linguistic diversity: the many different home languages spoken in a group
- race: a societal grouping based on physical and biological characteristics that people share
Teach About Fairness
Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.
Children need to learn about fairness and recognize how and when being unfair is hurtful. This lays a foundation for developing empathy and sensitivity that will, in turn, help prevent bullying. But fairness can be a difficult concept for very young children because it is abstract. Young children are often egocentric thinkers, and tend to see the world from their own perspective. So when they say “That’s not fair,” it’s because they don’t like the outcome. Educators can help children understand that fairness involves thinking of others, too. You can help children recognize unfairness, develop language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
- Listen for unfair comments, behaviors, or actions and address the behaviors honestly, directly and immediately. For example, It makes Lauren feel sad when you tell her she cannot play with you. Or, All the children in our class can share these toys. It is not okay for you to tell someone they cannot play.
- Help children develop appropriate responses when they experience themselves or others being treated unfairly. For instance, Tell Mindy how that makes you feel. Say, “That makes me feel sad when you do that.”
- Give kids the language they need to talk about unfairness. Ask children to express their ideas about fairness and sharing. Prompt children to talk about their feelings when they are treated unfairly. Discuss words or phrases that children can use to express their feelings and guide others to correct unfair behaviors. For example, When we have our morning meeting, how can we make sure everyone gets a chance to share? Who has an idea how we can do that?
- Teach fairness as a basic classroom rule to help children feel safe.
In this video, you’ll see how the educators handle feelings and incidents that seem unfair. As you watch, look for effective strategies used by the educators in the video and jot down answers to these viewing questions in your Learning Log.
- What strategies do the educators use to teach about fairness and make it more understandable for young children?
- How do the educators help children respond when conflict arises?
Why is it difficult for children to understand the concept of fairness?
- Very young children are concrete thinkers. Fairness is an abstract concept.
- Children are naturally egocentric, so they tend to think of themselves first. They will identify a situation or action that works against them as unfair, but will have a more difficult time identifying an action they perform as unfair to others.
What strategies can you use to teach about fairness and make it more understandable for young children?
- Have children brainstorm and role-play solutions such as trading toys, sharing, and playing together.
- Be attuned to children’s interactions and be ready to respond immediately to incidents of unfairness.
- Identify and point out fair and unfair behaviors.
- Encourage a safe and secure atmosphere in which children feel free to express their feelings and ask questions.
- Make the idea of fairness concrete. Use images to inspire conversations about fairness.
How can you help children respond appropriately when conflict arises?
- Address unfair behaviors honestly, directly, and immediately.
- Give children the language they need to talk about unfair treatment. Discuss words or phrases that children can use to express their feelings and guide others to correct unfair behaviors. As Cary says in the video, “It’s really the teacher’s job to find those little moments during the day and give support to the kids so they know what words to say.”
Think about the learning environment in your own program as you answer these reflection questions in your Learning Log.
- How do you teach about fairness?
- What did you learn that you will put into practice in your learning environment?