On any day, in any early childhood or primary classroom, any of the following scenarios might occur:
Lamar, whose parents have just separated, is crying because he left his mittens at his dad’s house during his visitation weekend.
Vanessa is scared because her best friend Jessica’s hair is falling out, and she doesn’t understand why their mommies are always talking about doctors.
Mario is arguing with Alyssa. He says, “There is no such thing as two mommies. My mommy and meemaw told me that.”
Sarah asks Jorge why his brother makes weird noises and walks and talks funny.
Sue Ann’s mom tells you that Sue Ann’s grandmother, who has been her only babysitter since birth, has died suddenly of a heart attack.
Jonathan has been having a rough time paying attention lately. You discover that his dad has recently been deployed to Iraq.
James announces that he’s afraid of the new boy because his skin is brown.
These topics and others—including bullying, family diversity, homelessness, disabilities, and incarceration—are often referred to as tender topics. They can be difficult for us to explain to or discuss with children. ... Continue reading
About the Authors
Sue Mankiw, EdD, is an assistant professor of early childhood education at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. Her teaching and research focus on using read-alouds to support the exploration of diversity and equity issues with preservice teachers and young children. firstname.lastname@example.org
Janis Strasser, EdD, is a professor of early childhood education at William Paterson University. Janis teaches classes in research, creativity and play, the creative arts and children’s literature, diversity, and advocacy. She is a consulting editor for Young Children. email@example.com