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Discuss how issues of identity and particularly gender or cultural

background might impact on a child's self-confidence and selfesteem.


During early childhood, children start to develop a "self-concept," the
attributes; abilities, attitudes and values that they believe define them.
By age 3, (between 18 and 30 months), children have developed their
Categorical Self, which is concrete way of viewing themselves in "this
or that" labels. For example, young children label themselves in terms of
age "child or adult", gender "boy or girl", physical characteristics "short
or tall", and value, "good or bad." The labels are used to explain
children's self-concept in very concrete, observable terms. However,
preschoolers typically do not link their separate self-descriptions into an
integrated self-portrait. In addition, many 3-5 year olds are not aware that
a person can have opposing characteristics. For example, they don't yet
recognize that a person can be both "good" and "bad".
As long-term memory develops, children also gain the Remembered Self.
In young children develop an Inner Self, private thoughts, feelings, and
desires that nobody else knows about unless a child chooses to share this
information.
Because early self-concepts are based on easily defined and observed
variables, and because many young children are given lots of
encouragement, Preoperational children often have relatively high selfesteem (a judgment about one's worth). Young children are also generally
optimistic that they have the ability to learn a new skill, succeed, and
finish a task if they keep trying, a belief called "Achievement-Related
Attribution", or sometimes "self-efficacy". Self-esteem comes from
several sources, such as school ability, athletic ability, friendships,
relationships with caregivers, and other helping and playing tasks.
As with emotional development, both internal and external variables can
affect young children's self-concept.
Children who can better cope with frustrations and challenges are more
likely to think of themselves as successful, valuable, and good, which
will lead to a higher self-esteem. In contrast, children who become easily
frustrated and discouraged often quit or need extra assistance to complete
a task. These children may have lower self-esteem if they start to believe
that they can't be successful and aren't valuable.
External factors, such as messages from other people, also color how
children view themselves. Young children with parents, caregivers, and

teachers providing them with positive feedback about their abilities and
attempts to succeed (even if they aren't successful the first time) usually
have higher self-esteem.
Peers also have an impact on young children's self-concept. Young
children who have playmates and classmates that are usually nice and apt
to include the child in activities will develop a positive self-image.
However, a young child who is regularly left out, teased, or bullied by
same-age or older peers can develop low self-esteem.
Another more complex but highly important part of a child's self-identity
is formed by their cultural identity. While ideas about ancestry and how
their family's culture fits into the larger society are too abstract for most
young people to understand, it's never too early to teach children about
cultural and religious traditions. Including young people in important
meals, celebrations, religious services, etc., and explaining what's going
on in simple terms is very important in passing on a sense of that child's
cultural background.
How might differentiating our teaching to focus on their learning
improve a child's self-confidence.
Self-confidence is important in and out of the classroom:

Always accentuate the positive. Do you ever notice those suffering


from a low self- esteem tend to focus on the negative? You'll hear
statements like: 'Oh, I was never any good at that. 'I can't keep
friends'. This actually indicates that this person needs to like him or
herself more!
Give children the opportunity to tell you 10 things they like about
themselves. Prompt them to state things they can do well, things
they feel good about. You will be surprised at how many children
suffering with low self-esteem have difficulty with this task - you'll
need to provide prompts. (This is also a great beginning of the year
activity)
Avoid criticism. Those suffering with low self-esteem struggle the
most when given criticism. Be sensitive to this.
Always remember that self-esteem is about how much children feel
valued, appreciated, accepted, loved and having a good sense of
self worth. Having a good self-image.
Understand that as parents and teachers, you play one of the
biggest roles in how good or bad a child can feel about themselves

- again, avoid criticism. Influence from a parent or teacher can


make and break a child's sense of self-esteem. Don't abuse it.
Expectations must always be realistic. This goes along with setting
children up for success. Differentiated instruction is key and goes
long way to ensure that teachers know their students and ensures
the types of tasks/expectations match the child's strengths and
ability levels.
See the learning in errors or mistakes. Turn mistakes inside out and
focus on what was or will be learned from the mistake. This helps a
child focus on the positive, not the negative. Remind students that
everyone makes mistakes but it's how those mistakes are handled
that makes the difference. We need to see them as learning
opportunities. Powerful learning can often be the result of a
mistake made.

Self-esteem and self-confidence is an important component to almost


everything children do. Not only will it help with academic performance,
it supports social skills and makes it easier for children to have and keep
friends. Relationships with peers and teachers are usually more positive
with a healthy dose of self-esteem. Children are also better equipped to
cope with mistakes, disappointment and failure, they are more likely to
stick with challenging tasks and complete learning activities. Self-esteem
is needed life-long and we need to remember the important role we play
to enhance or damage a child's self-esteem and confidence.