About Children First

Social Justice

Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected, and everyone’s basic needs are met.

At our founding, we promised to see, respect and cherish each individual child in the context of a caring community with its own strong identity. This commitment naturally turned and tuned us to questions of identity, belonging, fairness and freedom – questions which made their way into our evolving anti-bias curriculum, and into the everyday ways we work with conflict, inclusion, story and pretending.

Thirty-two years later, our aspiration is the same, but so much has changed, and continues to change. In the years we’ve worked with these ideas, our world view, probably like yours, has been reshaped by the explosion of wisdom and revelation coming from revisionist history and social psychology; from social justice activism and public policy; from memoirists, poets, artists, musicians and storytellers from marginalized communities; from our long-trusted early childhood mentors (like Margie Carter and Ann Pelo) and from the new social justice teachers we’ve found along the way (like Monique Melton, Emma Redden and Grace Aldrich); from the local colleagues in our racial equity study group; and of course, from the children and families who have trusted us with their stories, their loving critique, and their support for us as learners-in-process.

As learners-in-process, we know that what we write here –indeed, what we “proclaim” under the bold banner of “Social Justice!” –is both deeply sincere AND utterly provisional. But we proclaim it anyway – because we want anyone who steps into community with us to know: this is our truth and our aspiration, as best we understand it, here and now.

We are a learning community of young children, teachers and parents engaged in a deep and ongoing inquiry into Identity, Fairness, Belonging and Freedom. Our inquiry is inspired by and pointed towards our aspiration to become humans who know ourselves and speak our own truth; who want to hear and understand the truth of others; who understand that our own well-being is inextricably connected to the well-being of all; who have the will, knowledge and skills that enable us to align our choices and actions with that understanding; and who have the imagination and agency to envision and work towards a world organized for love, freedom and joy.

Learn more about how this aspiration informs our practice