Early Risers: A Podcast from Little Moments Count

Early Risers: A Podcast from Little Moments Count

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Early Risers is podcast from Little Moments Count and MPR with frank facts, engaging stories and real how-tos for anyone who cares about raising children with a clear-eyed understanding of cultural differences, race and implicit bias.

More about the Early Risers podcast and host Dianne Haulcy of Think Small.


Additional Resources

Video: Teaching Anti-Racism: Making Sense of Race and Racism for Young Children

From Little Moments Count: Racial Justice Resources

From NAEYC: Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families

PDF: Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn About Race

Think Small Institute: Additional Resources

Online discussions: MPR News Raising Kids in Minnesota group on Facebook.


Disrupting the bias within us

June 15, 2022

What should we say when a young child expresses or experiences racial bias? Maybe it’s when a child makes a comment about somebody’s skin color being ‘too dark’ or how they don’t want to play with a child of a different race. Or maybe it’s when a child has experienced racial bullying or some other kind of racialized incident in the classroom. As adults, we may find ourselves reacting or freezing up in these moments. A healthier response is to prepare what early childhood education professor and scholar Dr. Rosemarie Allen calls “a treasure chest” of ready responses for disrupting racial bias in the moment. 

The Power of Place: Visiting George Floyd Square with Young Children

June 1, 2022

George Floyd Square in Minneapolis has become a creative memorial and gathering space for healing. It also tells a much bigger story about racism, policing, and the struggle for racial justice in this country and around the world. All of this can be complicated and confusing for a young child. So how can we help children make sense of this? In this episode, Early Risers host Dianne Haulcy visits George Floyd Square with early childhood education expert Sheila Williams Ridge. Together they unpack how parents and caregivers can prepare to bring young children here, including what to do and say to help children heal.

Bias and the Developing Brain

January 19, 2022

The human brain is hardwired to recognize patterns—that’s how we figure out the world, and why humans have been able to adapt and survive over millennia. But the brain’s ability to quickly form cognitive associations can also lead to racial biases, even in very young children. On the season two finale of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy speaks with University of Minnesota cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Damien Fair about how we can train our brains to recognize bias and why the first thousand days of a child’s life are so critical for brain development.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan—A Live Recording

December 29, 2021

On this special episode of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy sits down with Minnesota’s 50th Lieutenant Governor, Peggy Flanagan, for an in-person, intimate and wide-ranging conversation. They discuss how she’s been living through the challenges of this moment, including how her experience as an Indigenous woman, state official and parent have shaped how she thinks about issues of racial equity. This conversation was recorded for the 6th Little Moments Count annual meeting held November, 2021.

Making immigrant and refugee stories visible: a conversation with children’s book author Bao Phi

December 15, 2021

Bao Phi’s family came to Minnesota in the 1970s as refugees from Vietnam. He experienced both racism and feeling invisible growing up in Minneapolis. Once he became a parent, he wanted things to be different for his child, which inspired him to start writing stories that weren’t available to him when he was younger. In this episode of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy explores how Phi’s award-winning children’s books can be wonderful tools for opening conversations with young children about the experiences of immigrant and refugee families.

Rethinking Thanksgiving: How to speak to young children about historical and racialized trauma

November 17, 2021

The Thanksgiving “pilgrim and Indian” stories that many of us were taught as children perpetuate harmful stereotypes and whitewash a painful history of violence and colonization that continues to impact Indigenous communities today. How can we have a more honest conversation with our children about this history? On this episode of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy speaks with early childhood educator and Dakota language activist Vanessa Goodthunder. She is the director of C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi, which is Dakota for “Lower Sioux Children Are Sacred School,” an early childhood program in the Lower Sioux Indian community in southwestern Minnesota where children learn Dakota history and language as their birthright. Goodthunder explains why every day is Indigenous People’s Day and how she uses language as a tool to heal from historical trauma.

Race Matters: A Conversation about Transracial Adoption and Multiracial Families

November 3, 2021

Being able to talk about race is an important life skill for all parents, but especially for parents raising multiracial families. When a family adopts a child of a different race, questions about race and racism cannot be avoided. On this episode of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy speaks with transracial adoption expert Beth Hall, co-author of “Inside Transracial Adoption” and executive director of Pact, An Adoption Alliance in Oakland, California. Hall also has personal experience with transracial adoption, as the white adoptive parent of two adult children both born in the United States—a son who is African American and a daughter with roots in Guatemala. Through her personal and professional experiences, Hall has gathered valuable insights and advice for anyone who wants to talk about race with young children.

The Danger of Being ‘Color Silent’: Talking about Race with Young Children

October 20, 2021

Young children are like sponges, absorbing information about the world around them. Children have already started to internalize racialized messages about their value and self-worth by the time they are three to four years old. Psychologist Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, an expert in racial identity development and the author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race” calls this “the smog we’re all breathing.”  

Teaching Anti-Racism; A Live Recording

June 25, 2021

This special episode sounds a little different than our normal one-on-one conversations. This is an edited recording of the Early Risers event we hosted on June 17th called Teaching Anti-Racism. There is an incredible panel of experts on early childhood, racial identity and racism including Dr. Rose Marie Allen, Dianne Haulcy and Dr. Brigitte Vittrup. It’s a riveting conversation about common barriers to talking about race and racism with young children and what to say to get these conversations going.