Preschool Children’s Play: The Reflection of Racial Attitudes and Preferences
Joseph, Leslie C.
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Cultural diversity is an integral part of our society, and therefore it is important that we understand how racial attitudes develop. By the age of three, young children can recognize racial cues, which signifies that early education about racial differences is necessary to prevent the early development of racial prejudice. Preschoolers may or may not verbally express their thoughts on race. These attitudes and preferences can be reflected through children’s body language and the verbal communication between them. One such peer interaction that provides an excellent setting to observe children freely is that of play. During the summer months of 2001, I was a preschool teacher at Children’s World Learning Center, in Troy, Michigan. In addition to caring for twenty-five 2 to 4 year old children, I also conducted this ethnographic study of how race can affect how they play. Who was studied? 12 preschool-age children of an ethnicity other than White were closely observed, especially during free time, as to record their interactions with others. Primary objective? To observe their manner of play, the activities and playmates they chose