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.


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.


Early Risers: Wisdom From Our Guests

August 10, 2022

How do children learn about race or racism? Is it ever too early to start talking to them about it? What kinds of conversations should we be having with young children about these issues? In this special episode of Early Risers, host Dianne Haulcy revisits highlights from some of her past interviews with educators, psychologists, children’s book authors, brain researchers, therapists, and others. Together these experts offer insights, practical tools, and guidance for raising children with an understanding of cultural differences, racism and implicit bias.

A Pediatrician Gets Real with His Patients in Talking About Race

July 27, 2022

When it comes to a child’s healthy development, the role of a family pediatrician can’t be underestimated. In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health officials have identified racism as a serious public health threat. So how can pediatricians help parents and caregivers address issues of race and racism?

How Babies Start to Learn About Race

July 13, 2022

Babies are like little scientists. They come into the world with a natural ability to notice patterns and form connections. By the time a child is two years old, research shows that they are already noticing racial differences. Dr. Charisse Pickron is a developmental psychologist and director of the Child Brain and Perception Lab at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development. She investigates how babies and toddlers start to learn about race, including why humans may have evolved to prefer the faces of people who look like them. Her research illuminates how parents and caregivers can widen our circles of connection and disrupt what she calls a “long trajectory of bias.”

Helping Children to Love the Skin They’re In

June 29, 2022

As parents and caregivers, we need to be intentional about helping children–especially children of color–develop a strong foundation of positive self-esteem and ego strength. This protects them from internalizing racist messages and helps them to build a positive racial identity. Research studies show that having a positive racial and ethnic identity is associated with higher resilience and problem-solving skills. But where should parents and caregivers begin?

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.