Teaching for social justice, social responsibility and social inclusion: a respectful pedagogy for twenty-first century early childhood education
Hawkins, KA 2014, 'Teaching for social justice, social responsibility and social inclusion: a respectful pedagogy for twenty-first century early childhood education', European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 723-738.
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Drawing on a Participatory Action Research (PAR) study that was undertaken in two Australian preschool settings this article examines strategies that support the pedagogy of teaching for social justice and outlines how these strategies raised critical consciousness of both preschoolers (aged three to five years) and early childhood educators to respect and value Difference, Diversity and Human Dignity (the Three Ds). While social justice and anti-bias curricula are of definite concern in educational circles, the conversation needs to continue because young children in the twenty-first century still have the propensity to develop very negative views regarding the Three Ds. Research has demonstrated that by the time children reach preschool age they are already proficient in the ways they appropriate and manipulate racist discourses and have developed negative attitudes and prejudices towards particular groups. The findings of the Australian study have implications for early childhood education (ECE), both nationally and internationally, to support teaching for social justice with the judicious use of children's literature, that promotes young children's understanding of and sensitivities to the Three Ds.