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Representation Matters

The significance of including early childhood materials that reflect diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be overstated. Representation matters, and ensuring that the identities of children and families are represented within the classroom content can go a long way in helping a child see themselves in the materials. It is hoped that the resources shared in this newsletter will help deepen our understanding of representation and spark ideas about how to seamlessly integrate it into the classroom. 

Diversity in Children's Books 2018

This infographic shows the percentage of books depicting characters from diverse backgrounds based on 2018 publishing statistics compiled by the librarians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Children's literature both underrepresents communities and misrepresents them. 

Consider asking your students: what is the effect of the underrepresentation or misrepresentation of communities on the young children in your care?

The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf

Watch this TEDx talk by Grace Lin, a children's book author/illustrator whose book, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” received the Newbery Book Honor. She argues that books allow us to see the world and ourselves. As such, a child's reading journey can inform their own self-worth and how they see others. She speaks about how books can foster our identity and strengthen our empathy.  Her talk raises the question: what books are on our children's shelves and what books are missing?

After watching the video, have your students describe in their own words the concept of windows and mirrors as it relates to books.

Pick a Book, Any Book: Using Children's Books to Support Positive Attitudes toward Peers with Disabilities

This article by Ostrosky and colleagues discusses the impact of reading on child development, the use of books featuring characters with disabilities, children's understandings about and interactions with peers with disabilities, including books about disabilities in early childhood classrooms, and using guided discussions to support young children's positive attitudes about individuals with disabilities. It concludes that the careful selection of children's books and thoughtfully structured discussions provide a direct path for supporting acceptance of children with disabilities. 

Hair Love

Watch Hair Love, an Oscar-winning film version of the book of the same name. It tells the story of an African-American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. It is a wonderful story that touches on topics around family, self-esteem, identity and culture.

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered ideas of representation which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 1 (Relationships): The program promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community. 
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.
  • Standard 7 (Families): The program establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings.

DEC Recommended Practices

The DEC Recommended Practices includes a domain on instructionenvironment, and family.

Who We Are

Early EdU for Inclusion incorporates the experiences of children with disabilities into an array of coursework. Early EdU for Inclusion is a supportive space for Washington Community and Technical College faculty to reimagine or further develop course materials related to equitable and inclusive early childhood classrooms. For more information, contact

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Diversifying Your Students' Shelves: 
The Power of Representation in Early Literacy

May 12, 2022

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