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Little Learners, Big Hearts

A Teacher’s Guide to Nurturing Empathy and Equity in Early Childhood

Embrace challenging conversations, confront biases, and shape learning from an early age with Little Learners, Big Hearts. This book equips early childhood educators with the necessary tools to become kind, caring forces, fostering meaningful connections with young children and families.


  • Promote empathy for and understanding of backgrounds, cultures, and identities that are different from what students may be used to.
  • Use mindfulness and reflection to move past discomfort and engage in challenging conversations.
  • Engage in an ongoing process of acknowledging and confronting biases.
  • Shape young children’s learning in a way that allows them to draw their own conclusions.
  • Be kind, caring, and meaningful forces in the lives of all students and their families.

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Little Learners, Big Hearts

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Supporting Our Youngest Learners
Chapter 1: Racism and Antiracism: The HEART+ of the Matter
Chapter 2: Early Childhood as a Foundational Time
Chapter 3: Bias in Early Childhood
Chapter 4: Families and Antiracism
Chapter 5: Antiracist School Culture
Chapter 6: Bias-Related Teasing, Peer Aggression, and Bullying in Early Childhood
Chapter 7: A Rhythm to a Rhyme: Challenging Stories, Literature, and Curricula
Chapter 8: Promoting Heart, Curiosity, and Self-Determination
Epilogue: A More Just and Inclusive World
Appendix: Our Stories



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8



  • Mason, C., Rivers Murphy, M. M., & Jackson, Y. (2018). Mindfulness practices: Cultivating heart centered communities where students focus and flourish. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Mason, C., Rivers Murphy, M. M., & Jackson, Y. (2020). Mindful school communities: The five cs of nurturing heart centered learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Nichols, H. (2022). Finding your blind spots: Eight guiding principles for overcoming implicit bias in teaching. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.