It’s never too
early to get kids thinking about body image and diversity, say facilitators of
a project developed by Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Child Development
Laboratory Preschool.

The preschool teachers traced outlines
of the students’ bodies onto large pieces of paper. The children were then
encouraged to paint their tracings with colors similar to their own skin color
and to choose fabrics for their outfits. Next, the preschoolers were urged to
discuss their feelings about the project. The purpose of the study, according
to an LSU press release, was to begin a healthy dialog about body image at an
early age, and to teach children to respect themselves and others.

“As early childhood educators, we believe
that promoting an appreciation of diversity and a respect of differences is
part of the process of helping children develop positive body images,” stated
preschool teacher Carol Aghayan in the press release. “This type of experience
easily lends itself to discussions about our bodies and our abilities, and it
encourages children to accept themselves and others.”