Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Monday, 7 July 2008 16:27 UK

Nursery alert for racist toddlers

Child at nursery
Saying: "Yuck!" may have a racist root, the guide says

Nursery staff must be alert for racist remarks among toddlers, a government-sponsored agency report has said.

The National Children's Bureau guide, Young Children and Racial Justice, is meant to help identify potentially racist attitudes in youngsters.

It is an umbrella group for bodies working with children and young people in England and Northern Ireland.

The 336-page guide said staff should investigate the reasons behind apparent racial prejudice.


It said: "A child may react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying, 'Yuck!"'.

That may indicate a lack of familiarity with that particular food, or "more seriously a reaction to a food associated with people from a particular ethnic or cultural community".

It also warned: "Racist incidents among children in early-years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships."

Staff should be watchful of children using racist language, it added.

Guide author Jane Lane said: "The book is about being alert and asking questions, being sensitive and never attacking a child, but always trying to think about why they may have said or done something."

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