Social Justice

If social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected, and everyone’s basic needs are met, then a curriculum for social justice…

  • Teaches children that questions are welcome and that, as Fred Rogers says, “anything mentionable is manageable.” That includes questions about gender, race, sexual preference, family structure, religion, colonization, physical differences, economic disparity, discrimination, systemic bias and personal bias.
  • Helps children make sense of the world they live in. Teachers partner with families to meet children’s questions and confusions with truth-telling in age appropriate, effective language.
  • Helps children grow in self-awareness and self-regulation. For example, gently naming and interrupting stereotyping; pointing out the difference between what we need and what we want, and about how our wants may lead to a consumerism that harms the planet; or growing sensitivity to the reality that the impact of our words and actions may not always match our intentions.
  • Invites children to question what is, and imagine what might be. The stories we share with children through books and Friend Dolls and in conversations about personal experience celebrate diversity, activism and upstanding.
  • Helps children marry empathy with action. We support children’s play and stories about making positive change, and watch for opportunities to support their real-life actions for change, too.

One small example – when a Children First parent brings our attention to how often we refer to each other as “guys,” whether or not we identify as boys, the kids and teachers brainstorm alternatives to this habitual language, and write a new agreement. A few years later, with a growing awareness of people who identify as gender non-binary, Children Firsters would request another change in this agreement – “You have to ask people what they want to be called.”