A to Z’s of Early Childhood

The science of child development and learning

J is for Justice

Achieving Developmental Equality and Dignity for All Children

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Learn more:

Books and Articles by Center Members and Collaborators

Other Resources

References

1Dowd, N. E. (2018). Reimagining equality: A new deal for children. New York, NY: New York University.

2Turnbull, 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

3Turnbull, 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.

4Turnbull, 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.

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