A new study out of Montreal has found that pre-schoolers are more prone to playing with peers who share their ethnic background, but are also able to overcome their differences and learn to understand one another.
“We found Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background,” says Concordia University researcher Nadine Girouard who co-authored the report.
Researchers examined what would happen when Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children from 3 to 5 years of age were paired with members of the same and different race. Children were more likely to play alone when paired with a child of a different background.
Though many studies conducted since the 1940s show that children are aware of ethnic differences from a very early age, this new report is drawing attention due to its focus on the progression of relations between Asian-Canadian children and French-Canadian children as they come to know and understand one another over time.
“Children found mutually satisfactory and effective means of engaging one another,” after the Asian-Canadian children learn to more strongly express themselves and the French-Canadian children learn to listen, the report indicates.
“Each [group] was able to import the culture of the other,” says Girouard. “Children, regardless of their ethnicity, want to play together and understand each other.”
Source: National Post