Identity Matters: Parents' and Educators' Perceptions of Children's Social Identity Development

A 2019 study from Sesame Workshop and NORC at the University of Chicago found that most U.S. parents and educators do not believe that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed. Most parents indicated that different social identities have some impact on children's success pathways. Eighty percent of teachers felt social class was impactful, including 40% who said it had a major impact.

The study also found that parents were not, by and large, focusing family conversations on children's social identity formation. While a large majority of parents were comfortable talking about social identity factors, few were having discussions about identity on a regular basis. However, as children grow older, parents placed a higher level of importance on learning about diversity.

The study examines survey data from 6,070 parents or caregivers of children age 3 to 12 and 1,046 educators of prekindergarten through 5th grade in the United States on their attitudes, experiences, and approaches to helping children learn about identity. Interviews for the survey of parents were conducted between February 22 and March 18, 2019 using TrueNorth®, which combines sample from AmeriSpeak®, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago, with non-probability panel sample. Interviews for the survey of educators were conducted between March 1 and March 13, 2019.

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