Dr Montessori believed in education for peace. I believe in peace. Right now it breaks my heart that people do not feel safe in their own skin.
I’ve curated here the most useful resources I’ve found. Follow the links that feel good for you where you are on your racial justice journey. I’m still working my way through the podcasts and books. This is not a quick fix. This is work we need to keep doing.
Having racial diversity in our children’s books is a great start. But also take action in our communities. Let our children see us doing social justice work. We can take a stand if we see racist behaviour. We are models for them and they are watching.
I hope this will be a helpful list to refer back to.
This feels too little too late. Let’s heal the world.
1. Helpful posts from the Montessori community
This 20-minute instagram live with Britt Hawthorne is super helpful. She first outlines what skills children under 6 have about their own identity before approaching conversations about police brutality and violence.
2. Questions we can be asking about our schools – we can be asking the same about our homes
These questions from @pearts.montessori are super helpful:
- Is my classroom a safe space for black students?
- Am I alert to acts of exclusion directed at my black students?
- Do I understand the journeys of my black students who came to Montessori?
- Do I understand the black communities my students will be serving?
- Do I give black voices a platform in spaces where decisions are made?
- Has a black voice confirmed what I think my answers to the above are?
If the answer to any of the above, especially the last question is no, now is the time to do something about it.
Excerpted from “This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action and Do The Work,” written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand
This open-source document shows what concepts the children can learn in a 3-6 (Children’s House) and 6-12 (Elementary) classroom or home.
They also share this anti-bias anti-racist foundational training including powerpoint slides.
2. Raise Black voices in Montessori
I loved @pearts.montessori’s post of Black voices in Montessori to follow and added some more. Yes, let’s “follow, listen and see the beauty of Montessori through a different set of eyes.” Lots of new accounts here for me – excited to keep learning from them. Here are some great ones to start with:
Specialists in Montessori and anti-racism and anti-bias work
More Black voices to uplift
Actively seek out diversity in our social media intake.
3. Pretty images with important messages
Until you fix it here, and address it here, nothing changes here:
Areas to diversify in daily life, eg, the toys we buy for our kids
This is helpful about what children understand about identity
Teaching your toddler to be anti-racist
Ways to make an impact
It’s not enough to be not racist. We must be anti-racist. – Angela Davis
A guide to white privilege
Are your children too young to talk about race
4. Books for kids
This guide by Social Justice books gives great guidelines for selecting anti-bias books for children.
- A kids book about racism (5-9 years old)
- A kids book about books on so many other topics too
- Diversity books for toddlers via Raising Yannis
- @multiculturalkidsbooks, @diversereads, @hereweeread, @thetututeacher all have LOTS of book recommendations
- Social Justice Books – has book lists by age
- Recommended by Britt Hawthorne: “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice” by Marianne Celano (4-8 years)
- Recommended by Tiffany Jewell
For the littlest ones: Be Boy Buzz by bell hooks, Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara, and An ABC of Equality by Chana Ginelle Ewing.
For the young readers: We Came to America by Faith Ringgold, You Hold Me Up by Monique Grey Smith, and the ABCs of the Black Panther Party by Chema Morales-James and Khalilah Brann
For the YA readers: Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki, Color Me In by Natasha Díaz, and Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
This book is anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell
5. More ways to have an impact
Be a model for our children
Be more than not racist; be anti-racist.
How we speak to and about others.
Help our children develop a strong identity and understand differences.
Learn how to talk to kids about race. This Sesame Street town hall held in May 2020 is a good starting point (aimed more at parents than at children). See articles, podcasts and more resources below.
Even more than buying racially diverse books, our children are watching us. Let them see us doing social justice work.
Don’t shy away from difficult conversations.
Speak up if we see racist behaviour. Let us be a safe place for our children to make mistakes and get our guidance. For them to ask questions, and to find the answers together. We are all still learning.
Make a donation
Make a call
In the US, call to take action against police violence
Continue to educate and do the work on ourselves
Articles and teaching resources
- “Beyond the Golden Rule A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice” by tolerance.org via @thekindcocoamama
- A free beautiful “Raising Little Allies to be” workbook to download by @wanderandwonder.studio
- They are not too young to learn about race
- A list of articles about talking to our children about differences: http://www.childrenscommunityschool.org/social-justice-resources/
- Black Lives Matter at School – teaching resources including 13 Guiding Principles for Young Children and Booklists
- We Are Teachers Social Justice resources
- Anti-bias episode of The Montessori Notebook podcast with Andy Lulka
- Educating Kids About Racism with Britt Hawthorne
- Talking Race with Young Children (National Public Radio)
- Talking to kids about race
- Parenting through a critical race lens
- Seeing White podcast series on Scene On Radio
There are so many books but these are the ones I’m going to be reading:
- Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves (via Britt Hawthorne)
- Training Teachers Harvest Theory Practice (via Britt Hawthorne)
- This book is anti-racist by Tiffany Jewell
- How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (via Eloise Rickman)
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- We Resist, We Raise our Voices by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
I have not included links to Amazon so that we can consider supporting these Black book stores (list via @matermea)
In 10, 25 or 45 minutes a day: https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1H-Vxs6jEUByXylMS2BjGH1kQ7mEuZnHpPSs1Bpaqmw0/mobilebasic
I found this workshop helpful. It won’t be for everyone. [Trigger warning: if you are of white skin colour you will be called out for systemic racism; also there is swearing]