Being Intentional About Race and Young Children

Talking about race with young children can be difficult. Though adults often think avoiding the subject shields a child from racial issues or racism, the fact remains that children see race, whether it is discussed or not. Parents, educators, caregivers, and community leaders have a responsibility to be proactive in having conversations about race with children and making an intentional effort to help them understand what skin color and other physical characteristics mean in age-appropriate ways.


In partnership with P.R.I.D.E. and Frick Pittsburgh, Trying Together co-hosted a day of professional development to explore how we, as early childhood educators, afterschool providers, and families, can create a positive environment to discuss race with young children. The day featured Dr. Erin N. Winkler, professor of African & African Diaspora Studies and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Workshop presenters included Sheba G., Dr. Aisha White and Medina Jackson from P.R.I.D.E., Wolf Trap teaching artist Celeta Hickman, and Molly Kilbridge from Frick Pittsburgh along with Dr. Kathryn Carroll, Kindergarten teacher at Pittsburgh Faison K-5 .

The event was held on Saturday, September 29, 2018.

Listen to the audio recording of Dr. Winkler’s presentation on Thursday, September 27 here.

Thank You To Our Sponsors and Partners

Thank you to our: co-hosts, P.R.I.D.E. and Frick Art and Historical Center, series sponsor PNC Grow Up Great and sponsors Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)*, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Hillman Family Foundation, and to our workshop partners!

*Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of OCDEL; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practice or organization imply endorsement by the Commonwealth.


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About Dr. Erin Winkler

Dr. Erin Winkler headshot

Erin N. Winkler is associate professor of African & African Diaspora Studies and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her Ph.D. in African American Studies at the University of California-Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow in African American Studies at Northwestern University. She is author of the book, Learning Race, Learning Place: Shaping Racial Identities and Ideas in African American Childhoods. She has recently consulted for the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, working to train museum staff to have productive conversations about race and racism with visitors of all ages and backgrounds (2016), and serving as an instructor in the Museum’s week-long workshop for K-12 teachers, “Let’s Talk: Teaching Race in the Classroom” (2017).

About P.R.I.D.E.

The P.R.I.D.E. Program is part of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development within the School of Education.  At P.R.I.D.E. our focus is on helping young Black children, aged 3 to 8, develop a positive racial identity. Studies have shown that when children are socialized to embrace their race, ethnicity, and heritage, it can lead to numerous positive outcomes. This event is part of the P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series, which invites parents, caregivers, educators, and the community at-large to learn about and engage in discussions about race, education, and young children.

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