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Ethnic Differences and Families

The ethnic backgrounds of children in the United States are remarkably diverse, and this diversity represents rich variation in family cultures. The cultural diversity among children in early education contexts presents both challenges and opportunities for the largely monolingual and White teacher population. This entry provides examples of the ways in which young children’s home culture may differ from their early education or school setting and create opportunities for children, parents, and teachers to learn from each other as they engage at the intersection of different cultures.

Although the number of White students enrolled in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools decreased from 2002 to 2012, children from Latino ethnic backgrounds increased considerably, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Latino children constitute the largest ...

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