Our kids are aware, engaged little beings, who notice so much and can sometimes ask awkward or difficult questions. Have you tried to explain skin color or disability to a 3-year-old? Conversed with your pre-kindergartner about how families differ, sometimes with a single parent, or two moms, a mom and dad, or only grandparents? Just recently, my almost 4-year-old said to me “Do you know that some kids don’t have houses?” As I struggled to find clear and loving words to explain to him that some families don’t have a safe, warm place to sleep at night, I discovered that his idea is that it’s a simple math problem: “They took one house away, so now there’s not enough anymore.”
Preparation and self-examination can lay the groundwork for having these essential conversations with the children in our lives. Each year, as part of its commitment to an anti-bias curriculum and to social justice, MPS offers an anti-bias class facilitated by educator and activist Katie Kissinger. For six weeks, members of our community gather to take a fiercely honest look at our own backgrounds, misconceptions, and biases, and to figure out what is helpful (and not helpful) in teaching the next generation about fairness, compassion, and equality.
This year’s class will be held at MPS on Monday nights, 6:30-8:30 p.m., October 5 through November 9th. The cost is $62, and a pay-what-you-can option is available to anyone who needs it. There will be a sign-up sheet available during Orientation, and later on the bulletin board in the classroom. If you want to know more, contact Amy Armstrong (Bishop, 4’s).
About Katie: Katie Kissinger has been an Early Childhood Consultant, Trainer and Adjunct Faculty for several colleges for over twenty years. Her clearest priority in teaching and life is in diversity and anti-bias work. She has been learning and teaching about the culturally relevant anti-bias approach to education for 25 years. Katie is the author of several published articles related to this topic, and of the children’s book All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color.