We are living in pivotal times.
Issues of race and racism are not new. Modern day America was created after a clash of epic proportions over this issue. A world war has been fought over this. Many of us thought that we, as a species, had put the worst behind us and were headed in the right direction. That, while we still had a long way to go, at least we were gaining some ground towards peace and equality for humanity. That racial strife in other parts of the world could be contained and addressed.
But here we are today, in 2017, reminded that these issues are not new. Not only are these issues not gone, but the forces of white supremacy and racism are coming back with a vengeance in the western world, and specifically in the United States.
How do we, as educators and parents, prepare our children to navigate this landscape? How do we provide a framework for them to process what they will be and are hearing and seeing around them? How do we strengthen them to take a stand for equality and justice?
These are important and critical questions for all of us right now.
A group of educators have compiled a growing list of resources to help you address this very thing. Andy Lulka is one of the administrators of the Montessori Teachers Facebook group of 5000+ dedicated professional Montessorians. In collaboration with the teachers in this group and the administrators of the Montessori for Social Justice group, she is in the process of compiling a list of resources for talking to children about race and racism. This is a living document, available on Google Docs, and will be updated with new quality resources over time.
The “Talking to Children About Race and Racism” document is organized in four parts:
- Resources for supporting children
- Resources for adults
- Links to organizations with more resources and curriculum tools
- Montessori and Montessori-compatible materials about diversity
We have important work to do. This is not the time for avoiding the difficult questions and conversations. Violence is on the rise and we all have to give an unequivocal and unambiguous message to our children about where we stand about it.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the contributors of this document for their work.
“…we must be humble and root out the prejudices lurking in our hearts. We must not suppress those traits which can help us in our teaching, but we must check those inner attitudes characteristic of adults that can hinder our understanding of a child.”
-Dr. Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method