As part of an ongoing identity project in the preschool classroom, we spent some time recently thinking about the different parts of our identity. We discussed the difference between our "outside selves" - those things that others can see - and our "inside selves" - which include things that are not visible to others but are an important part of our identity.

identity group

The children used a folded piece of paper to represent their ideas. After peering into a mirror and noting physical characteristics - eye and skin color, hair color and texture, etc. - the children drew their "outside selves" on the front of the folded paper.

Then, they opened the paper up to represent "inside self" stuff on the inside of the folded paper.

Identity drawing Owen

Partway through our work session, I noticed a shirt that Stella was wearing with an image of Malala Yousafzai - the young Pakistani activist. The shirt seemed to offer the perfect opportunity to decipher between what we could all see/notice about Malala's "outside self" (her hair/skin color, her hijab, etc.) and Malala's "inside self" - about which Stella was able to provide details, having learned quite a bit about the hero behind her shirt! Naomi soon piped up, excitedly sharing what she knows about Mae Jemison's identity - the first African American woman in space!

We didn't quite make our way to talking about how you can't know about someone just by looking at them (thus making assumptions) but I hope this conversation will eventually lead there...

Identity Stella
  • This small group session was inspired by Anti-Bias Education, Goal #1 Identity, which states:

    > Teachers will nurture each child’s construction of knowledgeable, confident, individual personal and social identities.

    > Children will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities

    Taken from

    To learn more about Anti-Bias Education, enjoy this newly released film!