If our goal as Pre-K teachers is to create a learning environment for four-year-olds that treats their capacities and interests with respect and provides them with guidance that help them realize their full potential, we first need to step back and examine our assumptions and expectations about who these children are in terms of gender, culture and family background and developmental variations or disabilities. All of us have assumptions. They are based on our personal experiences, family backgrounds and beliefs, media stereotypes, and myriad other influences that shape our world view.
For example, we may have gender assumptions based on our own experience or passed along from other teachers that girls are much easier to teach than boys. We also frequently assume that child-rearing practices from different cultures are not as good as the culture one knows, without ever taking time to know what these practices are or the reasons behind them. We may put down families who have different ideas about taking care of children. Finally, our expectations for children with developmental variations may be low, thereby limiting how much we challenge their ability to learn. As we approach a year of teaching a diverse group of four-year-olds boys and girls who come from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds and represent a wide range of developmental capacities, it is critical that, as their teachers, we examine our assumptions and biases and intentionally develop strategies to overcome them.