A to Z’s of Early Childhood
The Science of Child Development and Learning
J is for Justice
Justice, the legal term for establishing rights of all individuals based on fairness, relies on two important concepts in early childhood: developmental equality and dignity. Developmental equality means every child has the same access to opportunities for development and learning1. Dignity means the worth of every child is recognized, respected, and supported2,3,4. Research shows that valuing differences among children—such as race, culture, and developmental capabilities, as well as their families’ priorities and concerns—is vital to achieving justice for all children.
Building Blocks for Achieving Developmental Equality and Dignity
Here are four building blocks for achieving developmental equality and dignity for all children.
Building Block #1 - Be respectful.
- Act in ways that build on every child’s and family’s strengths and potential for success.
- Honor family values, beliefs, and culture in all interactions.
- Support families as the primary decision makers for their children.
Building Block #2 - Create equal opportunity.
- Learn about practices and policies that support equal opportunities and experiences for all children.
- Address barriers and biases that prevent children from having equal opportunities and experiences.
- Create opportunities for every child to receive the supports needed to be successful.
Building Block #3 - Collaborate to set goals.
- Locate and access resources to support each child’s opportunities for success.
- Participate in activities that promote developmental equality and dignity for all children.
- Work with individuals who interact regularly with young children to set shared goals for achieving developmental equality.
Building Block #4 - Advocate for all children.
- Advocate for appropriate services and supports for every child.
- Learn about how your community promotes equal opportunities and dignity through inclusion.
- Prepare those that interact with young children to be culturally responsive to the children, families, and communities they serve.
What We Are Doing
The Anita Zucker Center and our collaborators work to advance inclusive practices that ensure developmental equality and dignity for all children.
- A to Z’s of Early Childhood: Building Effective Partnerships to Support Young Children and Families
Visit our page to learn more about the power of collaboration and collective impact to promote developmental equality and dignity.
- Disability Policy and Advocacy (Symposium Event)
Watch this video of H. Rutherford Turnbull talking about developmental equality in our inaugural Early Childhood Symposium event on disability, early childhood policy, and family partnerships.
- Reimagining Equality: A New Deal for Children of Color (Symposium Event)
Watch this video of Nancy Dowd and panelists talking about equality in this fourth Anita Zucker Center Early Childhood Symposium event, which focused on addressing community collaboration, social justice, and juvenile law.
- Early Learning at the Harn Museum of Art
Watch this video about how a collaboration with Alachua County public schools, Head Start, and the Harn Art Museum helps young children overcome barriers to accessing the arts.
- Community Celebrates Opening of New CHILD Center
Read about the CHILD Center, a collaborative community effort to provide equal opportunities for developmental equality for all children.
- Early Childhood: Critical Legal Issues and Strategies
Learn more about this conference, convened by the UF Levin College of Law, Center on Children and Families and the Anita Zucker Center, that focused on legal challenges in early childhood.
- Start With Equity: 14 Priorities to Dismantle Systemic Racism in Early Care and Education
This 2020 report from the Children’s Equity Project outlines 14 critical priorities and actionable policies that federal and state policymakers can immediately implement to advance equity in the early care and education system.
- Federal Policy Statement on Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs
Read the U.S. Department of Education Policy Statement on Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Visit this website to learn more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees a free, appropriate public education for children and youth with disabilities.
- DEC’s Recommended Practices
Learn about the Division of Early Childhood’s (DEC) recommended practices for working with young children with disabilities.
- NAEYC’s Position Statement on Equity
Read the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) position statement on advancing equity in early childhood education.
- NAEYC’s Resources on Equity
Access resources (primarily for educators) from NAEYC and its partners about equity in early childhood education.
- CCSSO Policy Statement on Equity
Read or download this policy statement by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) on how school administrators can build high-quality education through equity.
- CEEDAR Center’s Innovation Configuration: Culturally Responsive Teaching (PDF)
This downloadable PDF is a good resource for trainers about culturally responsive teaching methods.
- Dual Language Learners with Disabilities: Supporting Young Children in the Classroom
This module from the IRIS Center supports teachers creating access for every child to have equal opportunity in the classroom.
- Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative
See how one community implements collaboration and focuses on shared outcomes to ensure all children have equal access to education.
- Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five
Read about age-appropriate strategies for talking to young children about complex issues of racism and equality.
Books and Articles by Center Members and Collaborators
- Dowd, N. E. (2018). Reimagining equality: A new deal for children of color. New York University Press.
- Turnbull, R. (2011). The exceptional life of jay turnbull: disability and dignity in america, 1967-2009. White Poppy Press.
- Turnbull, R. (2017). Education, ethical communities, and personal dignity, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 55(2), 110-111. doi:0.1352/1934-9556-55.2.110
- Turnbull, R., Beegle, G., & Stowe, M. (2001). The core concepts of disability policy affecting families who have children with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(3), 133-143. doi:10.1177/104420730101200302
- Turnbull, H. R., Turnbull, A. P., & Cooper, D. H. (2017). The supreme court, endrew, and the appropriate education of students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 84(2), 124-140. doi:10.1177/0014402917734150
- Turnbull, R., & Turnbull, A. (2014). Looking backward and framing the future for parents’ aspirations for their children with disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, 36 (1), 52-57. doi:10.1177/0741932514553124
- Dowd, N. E. (2018). Reimagining equality: A new deal for children. New York, NY: New York University.
- Turnbull, R., & Turnbull, A. (2015). Looking backward and framing the future for parents’ aspirations for their children with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 36, 52-57. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741932514553124
- Turnbull, H. R., Beegle, G., & Stowe, M. (2001). The core concepts of disability policy affecting families who have children with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(3), 133-143.
- Turnbull, H. R., Turnbull, A. P., & Cooper, D. H. (2018). The supreme court, endrew, and the appropriate education of students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 84, 124-140. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0014402917734150
Dedicated to supporting the well-being of young children and their families, the Anita Zucker Center has engaged with its partners to launch an ambitious initiative designed to provide accessible and practical information about child development and learning to support parents, caregivers, professionals and policymakers.
The A to Z’s of Early Childhood is a trusted source that offers robust, quality and up-to-date information and resources informed by the science of early childhood development and learning – from short videos and quick tips to academic research and detailed policy briefs.