The teaching of tolerance in a climate of fear

It feels pretty unnecessary to add yet more words to the rise of Trump, but I think a lot of people are processing this through writing. That’s how I do it, anyway. So bear with me, I’ll be quick.

For early childhood professions – educators, teachers, managers, leaders, policy makers – there is now no more crucial time to focus our efforts and energies more on intentionally teaching tolerance, and diversity, and the evils of prejudice.

The children we work with with soon inherit a world that appears still riven with intolerance and acceptance of the worst aspects of human nature – even elevating the personifications of those characteristics to one of the most powerful positions in our world.

As with so many things, feelings of powerlessness and defeat are overwhelming. But if you are in a position to either influence the planning and programs offered to children (or influence those developing and providing them), why not commit to taking action. By intentionally planning for the only things that can eventually defeat the darker parts of ourselves – role-modelling, teaching and enacting tolerance and respect.

Take the dinosaurs, play-doh and puppets off the planned and documented program for a little while. Focus on kindness, and celebrating difference. A better world depends on it.

By Liam McNicholas

I am an experienced early childhood teacher, writer and advocate. As well as managing community not-for-profit early childhood operations in a variety of roles, I have advocated for children's human rights; the need for investment in early childhood education; and for professional recognition and wages for those working in early childhood education and care.

I am available to be commissioned for freelance writing, editing, event speaking and consulting work.

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