THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE 11 Responsibility Fairness Caring Citizenship These characteristics ultimately result in good character. Children are taught in their early childhood stages the importance of having good character by educators and parents who have embraced the concept of developing The Six Pillars of Character®, whether or not they know them by this name. They recognize that these characteristics are conducive to children’s decision-making abilities, mindfulness, growth mindset, and behavioral change, which leads to continual development in their character. This further guides the development of versatile mindsets. Additionally, well-rounded social development promotes inclusive ideas and behaviors, which ultimately translates into safe spaces. Safe spaces, as defined by Oxford Dictionary, are places or environments in which a per- son or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physi- cal harm (2021). Where there are safe spaces, there is also the possibility to form positive or constructive relationships. When interactions with others are positive, it allows for individuals not only to develop in their own indi- viduality but to grow in communication, cooperation, or collaboration with others while at the same time being able to handle conflict should it arise. This also helps individuals process their own experiences and actions, and impacts their development in learning, literacy, and life. As we dive deeper into personal and social development, we find that incor- porating social justice topics contributes to these three developmental skills. How? By helping children not only to learn about current events, but also to see possibilities and opportunities available to them as they grow up and cultures and communities they may not have experienced if not for the positive interactions and exposure to places free of bias through adven- tures in storytime. In learning development for children there is a focus on four skills: Critical thinking Creative thinking Communicating Collaborating These skills help children to learn and are vital to life success. It is during this time that they can learn ideas through critical thinking about concepts
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