World news has been challenging to watch for many months and is particularly confronting right now with evidence of racial violence. It’s confronting because it is a reality in our country too. We have the choice to think about it, have conversations around it and take action or not.
What about children? Every parent wants to protect their child and keep them safe. Do we avoid or expose them to the realities of the world? How do we balance preserving their innocence with building their knowledge and skills in managing the reality of the world?
Every family will make their own decisions about conversations they have with their child based on their family values. I am a strong advocate for limiting children’s exposure to media but not to avoiding conversations about difficult concepts and how some people treat others.
John Nimmo, one of the authors of the book, Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change recently responded to the riots in America.
Now is not the time to be silent. Now is the time to listen carefully to the meaning children are giving to the events around. Young children are seeing and hearing the justifiable anger of people across this nation. Now is the time to respond to their questions and observations with authenticity. While we need to reassure children about their world, it is okay to express that you don’t know everything and that you want to learn more. We can reassure our children that good people can feel angry and frustrated, while also emphasizing values of care, kindness and community.
Is this a time look for opportunities to take up the conversation about bias and differences with children as a way to plant the seeds for a more just society?
Reflecting on our own identity and values is an ongoing journey, however I believe that kindness and respect underpin appreciating diversity and difference. Being kind is a choice, acknowledged in everyday moments and infused in many conversations at kindy.