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This webinar is offered as part of BPL's third annual Early Childhood Symposium. This year's topic is Talking about Race with Young Children: Disrupting Harmful Narratives in Early Childhood Classrooms.

In this webinar, early childhood educators will:

  • Learn the science of social development, with a special focus on how children learn to reason about social categories like race and gender.
  • Track how humans process race starting in infancy all the way through the teen years.
  • Discuss common misconceptions about children's social development, and how these misconceptions shape the conversations adults do (and don't) have with their children about race.

Learn more about the presenters: 

Dr. Jess Sullivan:  Dr. Sullivan is an Associate Professor at Skidmore College. Dr. Sullivan studies how children learn about -- and from -- the world. Her specialties are in language, numerical, and social development. Dr. Sullivan has created alien languages in order to study how children learn new words and has tested the impact of a child's language on your beliefs about math and infinity by testing children who speak different languages (Slovenian, Cantonese, English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Saudi Arabic, and Gujarati) on the same task. Dr. Sullivan also focuses her research on social development. Some of her studies have tracked how gender stereotypes change across the lifespan and have shown that preschoolers who violate gender stereotypes sometimes experience penalties for doing so. Most recently, her work has focused on understanding how and why adults talk with children about race.

Dr. Leigh Wilton:  Dr. Wilton is an Assistant Professor at Skidmore College. Dr. Wilton studies how people perceive and experience the diversity of race/ethnicity and gender in both groups and people. She primarily uses experimental methods to uncover how specific social cues, such as organizational diversity statements or a person’s phenotype, interacts with individual beliefs to influence identity, social perception, and intergroup relations. Some of her studies have explored how organizational diversity cues affect people’s ability to thrive within organizations, how people categorize and evaluate multiracial and transgender people and barriers and opportunities for talking about race openly and constructively with others. Most recently, her work has focused on understanding how and why adults talk with children about race.

Search "Early Childhood Symposium" in the online calendar for more workshops in this series, or email Jessica Ralli ([email protected]) for more information.

Educators needing NYS CTLE credits will be awarded 1.5 CTLE credits for attending this webinar. 

The 2021 Early Childhood Symposium is funded by the NY City Council as part of the City’s First Readers Initiative.

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