Very early in life, humans begin the life-long process of exploring different identities and ways to be in this world. In whatever professional role in the early childhood field you will find yourself, it will most likely include direct contact with young children and opportunities to witness, in myriad variations, this process of “role making.” Your responsibility is to be mindful of whether children feel secure or insecure in this world, powerful or powerless, safe or marginalized.
This assignment offers you the chance to study and evaluate the extent to which your identities are intertwined with the culture(s) in which you place yourself (or into which you were placed) and with the response of people around you.
In preparation, first review Chapter 7, pp. 92–105 of the course text, The Developing Child in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective on Child Development and pp.56–60 of the course text, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. Then consider the following:
- What have the readings taught you about the ways in which children try out various identities and explore role-related issues? Focus your analysis especially on issues of power, subjectivity, and responses to diversity. Be sure to reference the resources in your response.
- From the examples of children’s identities as street workers and/or soldiers, what new insights did you glean with regard to the relationship between diversity and social identities? Think about the specific roles/identities you assumed when you were a child. Why were these identities important to you? In what ways did those around you respond? How were these responses related to power and cultural inclusion/exclusion?
- Which of these childhood roles/identities have you preserved into your adulthood—and for what reason(s)?
- In what ways have the readings this week affirmed, extended, and/or modified what you learned so far about culture and diversity?
For this assignment, write an essay in which you address all four questions.
Assignment length: approximately 2 pages