The Cooperative Children’s Center is dedicated to providing an anti-bias environment for children and adults. An anti-bias environment is one that encourages an active approach to challenging prejudice, stereotyping and bias. An anti-bias attitude values and celebrates diversity among different genders, races, lifestyles, physical abilities, religions, culture and socio-economic status.
Research has shown that children notice differences at a very early age. Their self-concepts and attitudes about others are directly affected by social bias. Therefore, the Co-op believes it is imperative to encourage children and their families to recognize and actively challenge bias.
The goals of our anti-bias curriculum (as defined by Louise Derman-Sparks in her book, The Anti-Bias Curriculum) are as follows:
To foster each child’s construction of a knowledgeable, confident self-identity.
To foster each child’s comfortable, empathetic interaction with diversity among people.
To foster each child’s critical thinking about bias.
To foster each child’s ability to stand up for her/himself and for others in the face of bias.
We have designed the Co-op environment with our anti-bias goals in mind. Around the classrooms, there are various images that challenge the stereotypes of gender, race, physical abilities, religion and family configuration. Our books reflect a diversity of gender roles, racial and cultural backgrounds, life styles, abilities, etc. We have dolls that reflect different racial groups. Various languages are used in labeling the environment for the children, and the languages of the children in our center are used on a daily basis. The props in the dramatic play area are from different cultures and reflect different lifestyles. All of these materials are provided in an attempt to reflect all the children at the Co-op and their families in a positive way, as well as to expose all the children to the reality of diversity in their world.