Editor, momstown Belleville
As Louise Derman-Sparks points out so eloquently, "what issues (parents) see and hear from children, other parents, and society, and what they choose to act on or ignore, are strongly influenced by their own cultural beliefs, unexamined attitudes, discomforts and prejudice, as well as by their knowledge of children's development and learning and of societal biases." (reference below) In other words, in order to teach inclusion and anti-bias to our own children, we need to first examine ourselves and our own personal values and behaviours in the face of prejudices. For example, if you and your children have directly experienced discrimination or prejudice, how did you respond? If you responded positively and stood up to the injustice, your children will be directly impacted by your compassion, and likewise will show this compassion and inclusiveness to others in the future. If, on the other hand, you hold biases from experiences that have happened in your past, you may need to do a check on self-awareness, and expel these prejudices before your children formulate their own values (which may be a direct reflection of yours, due to the behaviour patterns that they have seen in you). Only when you, first, are able to examine yourself and explore your own feelings and attitudes toward issues of bias, are you then able to positively teach and model appropriate values and an anti-bias attitude in your children.
I encourage you to begin by doing the activities outlined in the book reference listed below. These anti-bias activities are intended to help you explore your own personal attitudes on such issues as family dynamics, race, culture, religions, class, and so on. Once you have examined your own personal values, and have developed an anti-bias approach, it is time to start preventing prejudice and encouraging anti-bias in your own children.
But how, you ask? The following are some simple strategies that parents can teach at home:
Keep in mind that a sense of empowerment for your child will come with awareness. If your child is taught about anti-bias, prejudice, stereotypes, racism, then he/she will not be surprised when they face or see someone else face inequality. Your child (if you have been a good teacher in developing the anti-bias attitude) will then know how to act positively, and take a stand for justice, while identifying and forming the behaviour patterns that have been encouraged in their own value systems. Just think, you play a role in creating a society that is gradually emerging as anti-bias, where no person is left out, through the education of your child.
Worth taking a look at for Black History Month:
We need a Black History Month in order to help us to arrive at an understanding of ourselves as Canadians in the most accurate and complete socio-historical context that we can produce. As a nation with such diversity, all histories need to be known, all voices need to be expressed. Black history provides the binary opposite to all traditional histories. One needs traditional history to engender a common culture; one needs Black history to engender a clearer and more complete culture.
When the contributions of people of African descent are acknowledged, when the achievements of Black people are known, when Black people are routinely included or affirmed through our curriculum, our books and the media, and treated with equality, then there will no longer be a need for Black History Month.
(exceprt taken from the article: Why a Black History Month? By: Rosemary Sadlier)
Lana Kelly( B.A, SSW, ECE, Montessori). For 20 years, Lana has been dedicated to helping children and families. In 2010, she published a book (The Sheepish Lamb) , aimed at building resilience to childhood anxiety. She is a mom to four daughters, and values her faith and family solidarity.
Saderman Hall, N., & Rhomberg, V. (1995). The Affective Curriculum. Scarborough: Nelson Canada.
CHILDREN'S BOOK LIST FOR PREVENTING PREJUDICE: