Two-and three-year-olds By age three, many children are able to differentiate between colors and shapes and may notice skin, eye, and hair color. Some children may show discomfort around someone whose skin color is different from their own or someone who is physically challenged. With repeated experiences and with adult encouragement and support, young children can learn to feel more comfortable with people who are different from them.

Four-year-olds At this age, children are increasingly interested in how they are similar to and different from other children. They begin to see themselves as part of their family and ethnic group and start to classify people by physical characteristics, asking questions about the differences and similarities they notice. This sorting is normal, and it is not an indication of bias.

Five-year-olds This is a time when many children become very aware of gender, racial, ethnic, and other differences and similarities among people. They are curious about such characteristics as socioeconomic class and age, how other families live, and differences in family routines and composition.