Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education
Like most Office of Child Development efforts, the P.R.I.D.E. Program emerged from research. In 2016, the OCD Ready Freddy Kindergarten transition team began reading articles about race and young children after being inspired to do so by an article written by Dr. Rich Milner, then director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education. The team then conducted an environmental scan followed by a study entitled Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education: Understanding P.R.I.D.E. in Pittsburgh. The goal of the P.R.I.D.E. scan was to further explore the intersection of race and young children in Pittsburgh. It drew on the latest race studies as well as interviews with parents, educators, and key informants; surveys of parents and teachers; classroom observations; and guidance from a local advisory committee. The work sought to answer critical questions about what is already known about positive racial identity, what work was being done to support it, and what holes existed in resources, training, and information.
Findings from the study informed each component of the P.R.I.D.E. program. Parents relayed a desired to talk about race with their children but felt ill equipped to have those conversations. That gap led to the creation of Parent Village, a six-week curriculum designed to help parents learn more about their race, culture, and history in order to feel capable of having conversations about race with their young children. The lack of community-wide awareness of the impact of race on young children spawned the P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series, a free public forum for community dialogue about race that specifically focuses on the needs and experiences of young children. Finding from the scan literature review revealed information about the significance of the arts in supporting young children’s positive racial identity from which the P.R.I.D.E. Pop Up Mini Art Festivals emerged. Teachers testified to the need for for both training and resources, which resulted in the P.R.I.D.E. Professional Development component. Our interest as an organization in continuous quality improvement spurred the evaluation and research component of P.R.I.D.E.
The scan provided foundational research for P.R.I.D.E. and that research continues as we seek to grow our understanding of the relationship between race and young children.
For more more information, read the full report or check out the executive summary. Below is a collection of other research findings related to positive racial identity.