AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - It can be a sensitive subject for some parents: Talking to young children about race and gender identity, but state educators are helping parents and teachers start the conversation.
They are doing it by training early childhood teachers to talk to young children about "the new normal."
The state's Department of Early Education and Care hosted a day-long conference on the subject at UMass Monday. Its mission is to help teachers understand children who come from same-sex families, who have been adopted, or who are learning English as a second language.
Conference lecturer Kim Westheimer, Director of the organization Welcoming Schools , told 22News that children can understand people with different skin color and family histories by the age of five.
"People might think ‘we can't talk about same sex families because that's a little too scary, we don't have the language for that.' So, part of our goal is to help people see we can talk about that in a way that's very age-appropriate," Westheimer said.
This is one of two statewide conferences. The second one will take place in Bridgewater next week.