At Berkwood Hedge School, we talk about the values for which we stand. We stand for compassion. We stand for kindness. We stand for empathy. And, we stand for justice. Sometimes, people question whether social justice is an appropriate part of the curriculum in elementary school. We believe that it is not only appropriate, but an ethical imperative and critical to our future to have these difficult conversations.
Every day our teachers provide space for the children to talk about what is happening in our country in a way that honors their development and meets them where they are. We encourage you to continue these conversations at home, even if it seems daunting. Growth in social justice, like any other subject area, requires study, reflection, practice, and application. Below are some resources to help facilitate discussions with your children.
Vanessa Siddle Walker
Segregation-era black educators set the groundwork for an equitable and aspirational education system for all. How can we get back to their vision?
Educators have an obligation to confront the harm of racism, says one social-emotional learning expert. She shares five steps educators can take to teach for an antiracist future.
Baruti Kafele provides attendees with strategies for maintaining leadership effectiveness during what will likely be the greatest challenge that they will ever encounter in their leadership careers.
Educators need to ensure that students of color see themselves as part of the picture, says the renowned psychologist and author.
Students experiencing racism can't wait for schools to move at their own pace and comfort level.
Matthew R. Kay
A founding father's short-sided views on race challenges educators to consider how black people are reflected in curricula.
Students live in a world wrestling with injustice. By designing social-emotional learning experiences that question and confront inequity, educators give students the skills to navigate (and ultimately change) an unjust world.
Systems thinking can be a powerful tool in addressing systemic racism because there are so many formal and informal systems, structures, relationships, norms, and behaviors that have conspired over time to create systems of oppression.
National Association of Independent Schools
2020 NAIS Annual Conference workshop presenters Debbie Bensadon and Stephanie Wright talk about why school culture is so important in equity and inclusion work, and how can schools build capacity for these efforts. Bensadon and Wright presented the workshop "Equity and Inclusion: Bringing About Systemic Change from the Inside Out" along with Merissa Reed at the 2020 NAIS Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Schools and titles listed in the video are as of the time of the interview.
Social Emotional Resources
Suggestions for calming/grounding activities for kids, some are for younger school aged children but most can be adapted for all ages:
Child Mind Institute: a great resource for families providing guidelines about conversations with a lot of room to adjust to fit individual families:
Great Good Science: Resources for how to support families during this time:
Common Sense Media: A list of resources including a family media agreement.
Article by Teresa LaMendola Kabat-Zinn, Asa/EARTH