Critical Race Theory (CRT) is based on the premise that race is a social construct and that race-based belief systems are visible in all parts of our social life. With regard to children and childhood, although there is work that takes up anti-racist and anti-bias approaches to pedagogy, and children’s play for example, very little attention has been paid to CRT by people working in the area of early childhood, however, CRT has been taken up more widely by education scholars and teachers in the field of K-12 education. This entry will provide a brief history and background of CRT and outline some key tenets of CRT with an eye to early childhood. Because this theory began in the United States, much of what is discussed in this entry is U.S. based, however, there are CRT scholars working elsewhere (in the U.K. and Canada for example).
div class="page" title="Page 1"> Psychological research on Canadian children and race has shown that young White and racialized children generally have a pro-White bias. While scholars have utilized developmental or social psychological explanations for this finding, none have used an antiracism lens to interpret children’s racial attitudes or to develop an antiracism pedagogy. To address this research gap, this article uses antiracism theory as an analytical tool to explore the social-historical processes that have affected how children evaluate racial differences and White identity. It also briefly proposes antiracism teaching practices specific to early childhood education settings. </div
This article focuses on 11 in-depth semi-structured interviews with early childhood educators who responded to a question about reporting racial incidents as a ‘Serious Occurrence’ under guidelines mandated by the City of Toronto Children’s Services Division. We draw on critical race theory and colorblind theory in a discursive analysis of participants’ narratives. Results of this analysis suggest that participating early childhood professionals were reluctant to name and acknowledge incidents of racism in early learning environments, and engaged in discursive strategies that minimized and negated such incidents. Implications for the training and education of early childhood educators are noted and implications for provincial policy are discussed.
This article explores how multicultural policy approaches, which mandate the inclusion of culturally and ethnically ‘diverse’ play materials in early childhood classrooms influence the pedagogical practice of educators and, in turn, children’s play and social interactions. Using data collected through participant observation of children’s play in a preschool/kindergarten classroom, interviews with early childhood professionals, and document analysis of a particular early years policy, we highlight the shortcomings of the focus on physical materials as the primary strategy for addressing ‘race’ and other forms of difference in early childhood education. Assumptions about children’s play are examined and critiqued, with examples of children’s play episodes provided to emphasize how play reproduces systems of power and oppression present in the broader social context. A number of recommendations are offered for both professional practice and the reconceptualization of early childhood policy.