Worldwide, life expectancy is rising. In general, people are not prepared for this long life and have ageist attitudes that hinder exploiting the “dividend of longevity” they have been granted. This improved longevity stresses the need to combat ageism and plan for the later years of life. The children of today are the older adults of tomorrow. In an ageing nation, they need to be prepared to live a long life. Unfortunately, research has repeatedly shown that even young children exhibit ageistic attitudes, and as the child grows older, these attitudes become more difficult to change. People with negative ageing attitudes prefer to live life accordingly, and these attitudes become prophecies of self-fulfillment. Early literature for children is a resource that can help counteract ageism and teach children about ageing. The definition of ageism, the consequences of ageism, the value of self-assessment of one’s ageing behaviours, and tools are provided to find early childhood literature (Preschool-Primary) to combat ageism and learn about ageing.
Sandra L. McGuire Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education Fellow, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tennessee, USA.