Identifying similarities and differences is the process of comparing information, sorting concepts into categories, and making connections to existing knowledge. Supporting each young child’s full and equitable participation requires early childhood professionals to build the capacity for children to recognize and talk about differences in ways that are honest and accurate, but also thoughtful and kind. This takes intentionality on the part of professionals, and daily practice and modeling by children and adults. Here are some resources for supporting those capabilities.
Types of Diversity:
Children with Disabilities
Children and Families who are Culturally, Racially, and Ethnically Diverse
Frameworks from both NAEYC and DEC highlight the importance of gathering information about children over time and use that documentation to support wise decisions. Here are some examples of resources that support progress monitoring and/or ongoing child assessment to support educators and children.
Here’s a set of free articles, videos, checklists, and graphics that provide information about what UDL is and how to use it to support diverse young learners so they can show us what they know and are able to do.
The 4th edition of NAEYC’s position statement (2020) defines “developmentally appropriate practice” as methods that promote each child’s optimal development and learning through a strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning (p.5). Yet recent shifts to virtual learning and single-minded emphasis on academic achievement have hampered some efforts to support play-based approaches. This collection of resources is designed to provide both evidence and examples of how effectively play may be used to facilitate learning, development, and connections across domains.
In the last year or so, a number of new and excellent resources related to learning about and supporting infants and toddlers have been developed and made available at no cost. This issue shares several of them.
Open-ended questions, the ones that require more than one-word answers such as yes or no, can stimulate a child’s thinking and help to develop their language skills. Open-ended questions encourage a child to focus and make meaning of their experiences and enable them to see various possibilities. The curated resources from this issue of Natural Resources provide examples that will connect rich, thoughtful questions to curiosity, vocabulary, and all domains of development.
Visual supports are an evidence-based practice that can support the engagement and participation of diverse young learners. Consider how to use the resources below to support children with disabilities, children who are dual language learners, children who are new to a setting, or any child who benefits from looking and learning.
As a result of COVID-19 and other stressors, many families are experiencing adverse changes and uncertainty. October 2020's Natural Resources include a set of free resources that may be useful for families and practitioners.