October 29, 2018
REMINDER: Early Release/No School Dates
- Wednesday, October 31 - 12:15 Dismissal: Parent Conferences
- Tuesday, November 6 - NO SCHOOL: District-wide Professional Learning Day
- Monday, November 12 - NO SCHOOL: Veterans Day Observed
- 7:00 pm LEF Trivia Bee
Wednesday, November 14
- Safe Routes to School
- 6:00 pm Gr. 1 Parent Seminar
Thursday, November 15
- METCO Family Friends Day
- 6:30 Principal's Evening Coffee
Raising Anti-Racist Children
Last Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a panel discussion called “Raising Anti-Racist Children: Strategies for Success.” The forum was sponsored by Follen Community Church and supported by several other Lexington religious and community organizations. The forum began with moving personal stories of identity and bias shared by the panelists, who then responded to real-life scenarios that parents had experienced in Lexington and submitted in advance for panel response.
Moderator Reverend Liz Walker opened by reminding us there is “no neutral ground when it comes to racial justice” and that we owe it to our children to talk about racism in the world.
The panel included Estabrook’s own Katie O’Hare Gibson, who shared her experience growing up in a sheltered predominately white community and now parenting two boys who identify as bi-racial and black. She shared a personal account of a family who had taken restorative action to repair the hurt caused by a racial incident. She suggested we need to balance sheltering our children from harm while still educating them about the harm caused in the past and in the present.
KOLex representative April Daicuk reminded us that identify is much more than race or country of origin. She challenged us not to just accept stereotypes, but to move beyond them. She posed a haunting question, “Don’t you want your children to feel welcomed wherever they live on this earth that we all share?”
Maria-Veronica Barnes, an early childhood educator from Lexington Montessori School, noted the importance of beginning conversations about race when children are young. She reminded us that, “Social-emotional learning happens, even if we don’t teach it,” so we might as well be proactive. Young children see racial differences and are watching and listening to their parents’ conversations and how we respond in different situations.
Hastings School Counselor Celeste Freeman quoted William Faulkner: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” She shared her positive experiences growing up as a black child in Georgia and cautioned us that it can be easier for us to talk about past racial issues in the South, but that we need to look within to see the racism that permeates our society still today.
During the discussion of the scenarios, several practical strategies for talking with children about race emerged.
- Most important: have the conversation. Don’t worry about having all the answers. Conversations about race and identity can be messy and difficult. The more we engage in these conversations, the more natural they become. Be calm, supportive, and honest.
- Listen to the children when they share their thoughts and observations with us.
- Ask questions. Get more information about children’s ideas. Don’t rush to judgment or you run the risk of shutting down the conversation. But be clear about what you value.
- Notice when something is happening. Don’t shy away from the “teachable moments” that arise around us every day.
- Model and encourage empathy for others.
Reverend Liz Walker reminded us of the importance of hope. The panel certainly provided a hopeful message that when we face topics of race and identity with an open mind and caring heart, we can show our children the importance of listening to and caring for one another.
Food Assistance Available
Is your family going through a difficult period financially? Massachusetts provides several programs to ensure that children do not experience food insecurity. These include:
- Massachusetts Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)
- Free & Reduced Lunch
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Click on the links for more information.
Around the School Last Week
Jam the Van is Back!
Thank you to all the families who contributed goods for Cradles to Crayons. Parents and school working together to promote community service!
Found in our backyard. Can you identify what this is? Fall Big Backyard Walks are underway in all grade levels. Thank you to our many parent volunteers!
Art on Display
Check out these Picasso Puppets by second grade.