Preschool children’s classification skills and a multicultural education intervention to promote acceptance of ethnic diversity

Jeffrey Bernstein, Toni Schindler Zimmerman, Ronald Jay Werner-Wilson, Jill Vosburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies on the ethnic awareness of young children have identified a developmental sequence of ethnic understanding based on cognitive-developmental theories. The present study extends earlier findings by using measures that include classification tasks. Nineteen preschool participants were randomly assigned either to an intervention group or a control group. The children were pre-tested to obtain a baseline measure of their classification skills (i.e., classified by age, gender, race/ethnicity). Following the pre-test measures, children in the experimental group participated in an eight-week intervention program designed to reduce racial/ethnic stereotyping. Increases in classification skills were observed in the experimental group at post-test. Upon conclusion of the eight-week intervention, children in the experimental group were less likely to sort photo cards by race/ethnicity and more likely to sort them by gender and age. These results suggest that interventions for preschoolers can expand young children’s ability to classify individuals on multiple dimensions (i.e., age, gender, race/ethnicity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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