Teaching Tolerance- Begin Early…
I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not really a fan of the word “tolerance.” It just sounds so begrudging. But, in spite of its connotation, the idea of tolerance is an important one in early childhood classrooms. This doesn’t mean we have to agree or teach our children to be passive and agree with everyone. But, it does mean instilling them with a sense of respect for the rights of others and their right to live with their beliefs. It’s about building a sense of community and support.
A little book called Starting Small: Teaching Tolerance In Preschool and The Early Grades puts it this way,
“The vision of community that the early childhood classroom provides can color children’s ideas and expectations about equity, cooperation and citizenship for a lifetime.”
What better place to start than…small.
Community begins in the classroom. For most young children, being a “classmate” – at day care, at a place of worship or at school – constitutes their first active participation in an ongoing social structure outside the family. ~ Jim Carnes
Teaching Tolerance Early