As parents, ECE caregivers, and providers, we can plant the seeds of healthy development by immersing our children in relationships, environments, and language that promote a sense of safety and belonging and welcome their own exploration of self.

Can you remember the first time you completed the sentence: I am…? Perhaps it ended with “I am Isabel,” “I am 4,” or “I am a girl”?

Identity develops incrementally over time, but it begins in infancy. Our sense of self, or who we are, is shaped by the people around us, words and labels used in our environment, the experiences we have, and our own thoughts about what is possible. A positive sense of identity promotes healthy development and can be a protective factor. Importantly, it also influences how we interact with others. So be sure to plant good seeds.