An Appropriate Racial Approach Contributes to Self-Esteem in Early Childhood in Brazil

Neglect and discrimination impair the child's understanding of themselves

It was at daycare, during storytime, that Anna Júlia, then 4 years old, made a discovery that left her amazed: princesses could have dark skin just like hers.

At the time, the teacher had brought in a black guest to tell a story to the children dressed as royalty.

"Princess Penelope" marked the first years of the student's education, now 6 years old. "In the end, the children handled the accessories, my daughter chose the mirror, and upon seeing herself, she was enchanted, recognizing herself as a black princess. Before that, in her thinking, there were only white princesses," recalls the mother, Leandra Maria da Silva.

According to Daniela Mendes, coordinator of educational policies at the NGO Todos pela Educação, early childhood is a phase of individual structuring and will impact the entire life.

Essential care in the first three years ranges from feeding and stimulating speech to offering affection and protection.

Within this context, racial issues will impact early childhood in at least two dimensions: the indirect, linked to the effects of what she calls structural racism, and the direct, given by acts of prejudice.

Read the article in the original language