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Tattoos and Piercings in Early Childhood Workplaces: Are Restrictive Dress Codes in Line with Developmentally Appropriate Practice?

by Heather Bernt-Santy
September/October 2019
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Article Link: http://www.ccie.com/article/tattoos-an/5024914/

What do we know about typical child development? What do we know about the individual children in our care and classrooms right now? What do we know about their families and their cultures? Early childhood practitioners who are familiar with the three core considerations of developmentally appropriate practice, as outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, will recognize these questions as those that should guide our decision making for our interactions and programs. But what role should these questions play in our decision making regarding staff dress codes? 

When making decisions about curriculum, environments, interactions with children and expectations for children, it is vital that we are in alignment with the core values of our field. I would make a case for extending this consideration to dress code policies that prohibit early childhood practitioners from showing tattoos and non-traditional piercings. It is important that we maintain our commitment to reflecting children’s lives and supporting their development in all aspects of our work—including our employee policies. One of the values of our field is to provide anti-bias education, a philosophy that reminds us that it is not the existence of difference that can affect children’s development, ...

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