New York, NY, April 11, 2011 … An independent study of children whose teachers participated in the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Miller Early Childhood Initiative has found evidence that the program had a positive impact on the children's development of respect for others and overall was effective in reducing the development of early biases.
The study, conducted from 2009 to 2010 by researchers from the Barry University School of Social Work, involved 150 preschool children from four preschools in South Florida. Teachers in three of the preschools completed training through The Miller Early Childhood Initiative of the ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute during the course of the study, and the fourth school served as a control group.
"We have long known that children learn social skills and develop biases at the earliest developmental stages, and this survey is a wonderful affirmation of the efficacy of our model to reach these children starting in preschool," said Linda A. Santora, ADL Director of Early Childhood Education Programs. "The study shows there are clear results when children are encouraged as early as age three to appreciate diversity and respect differences."
Children whose teachers participated in The Miller Early Childhood Initiative showed less biased attitudes and behavior than children in the control group, according to the study. In comparison with the control group, they showed a significant increase in helping, playing with and bringing home children of different races and abilities.
The Miller Initiative trains early childhood educators in strategies to confront bias and stereotypes among children ages 3-5 using specially designed materials that use characters from "Sesame Street." The anti-bias education program, launched in New York in October 2001, is now operational in 13 ADL Regional Offices.