Mrs. Farber and I know many families would rather avoid talking to their 5/6 year olds about racism and current events. It is a difficult topic, but we believe it is important for our society and our students to try. We had already planned this week's activities for the Weekly Learning Plan (found here: https://sites.google.com/gedu.sd73.bc.ca/bestkindergarten/weekly-learning-plans/june-8-12?authuser=1), but we have decided to add these activities as well as we believe that they are important and timely.
We read this post on another teacher's blog and thought we would pass it along to you because it expresses our feelings on this subject quite accurately.
"Every day I choose what to say, what to read, what topics to discuss as a teacher. I try to be responsive to important events happening around us - in our community, in our country and in our world. What I know to be true about children and their growth is that they are always smarter and more resilient than we tend to give them credit for; as we build their social and emotional intelligence, we are building their sense of responsibility and citizenship. This is difficult work, especially with younger children, who need complex topics presented in meaningful but age-appropriate ways, but we cannot shy away from this task - it is too vital and children are too important."
1. Discussing race and racism with children isn't easy but it is necessary. This week begins with a bit of homework for the adults in the family- an article to help support you as we all raise a generation of anti-racist children together.
2. Check out this lovely book called Skin Like Mine: https://youtu.be/yeGtWNFT2rc Observe (look closely) at your own skin. What does its colour remind you of? If you have a magnifying glass at home, use it to look even closer. Observe the skin of a family member – is their skin the same as yours? Is it different? What do you notice?
3. Make a self-portrait, a picture of yourself, and make sure to add lots of colours! We are used to having to hunt for just the right colours, sometimes combining more than one crayon or pencil crayon to get the right shade. Maybe you have paints at home and can try to mix some together to match perfectly. Next to your self-portrait, draw a picture of what your skin colour reminds you of – maybe it’s a peach, or mom’s latte, or a delicious brownie!
4. We know that not only are all people different, but so are families! Read along with this great book called One Family: https://youtu.be/kvvRRxQqNpc
5. The next time you go out with your family, explore and notice the differences and similarities of all the people you see. Talk with your adult about what is different about people in your community – maybe they wear different clothes, or speak different languages, maybe they have different hair or are different sizes. Talk with your adult about what you have in common with others in your community – maybe you know people who also like to ride their bikes or go to the same school, maybe you see others enjoying walks like you or hear them speak the same language as you.
6. Here is the story Viola Desmond Takes Her Seat: https://youtu.be/cHAZeVw7Oow
Here is another story, Super Manny Stands Up: https://youtu.be/SglkFWnoB8Y
We already know how important it is to stand up for what is right, just like Super Manny. And we know that it wasn’t right for Viola Desmond to get in trouble, just for the colour of her skin. Imagine that Super Manny was at the movie theatre that night – what do you think he would have done when he saw Viola being treated unfairly? Show your idea in a picture and do your best to add some words – combine the characters from the two stories and show what you imagine might have happened.
We hope you take some time to try some of these activities with your child.
With love and support,
PS If you haven't yet, please send me your child's answers to these questions for their final report self-assessment- thanks!
1. Where do you get your ideas? Where do your ideas come from?
2. What do you do when your ideas don't work?
3. What do you like or find exciting about learning something new?
4. What do you dislike or find difficult about learning something new?