Children have a unique capacity for learning and growth. Ninety percent of our brain is developed by age five, and studies have shown that kids between the ages of 5-7 are able to learn a new language at a faster rate than at any other age. While racial healing isn’t a new language, children can learn the language of friendship and connection early on – and maybe even at a faster rate than adults. Can you imagine a world where kids are taught to help create a sense of belonging with each other more than they’re taught racism? Where racial equity is the norm, not the exception?
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation will celebrate the seventh annual National Day of Racial Healing on January 17, 2023. We invite everyone to participate in the day in your own way, with your own community, however big or small. While this may seem like an event for adults, we encourage those with children to find ways to include them in the day.
How about hosting a playdate with a racial healing theme? Children’s-oriented events could be as simple as inviting neighbors or classmates to gather and:
- Play cooperative games that help children learn to work together.
Host a movie night with culturally-based stories, like “Coco,” “Encanto,” “Soul” or a few episodes of Molly of Denali.
- Hold a special story time with books featuring diverse characters. PBSBooks has a list of books in their Celebrating Diversity section or you can check out this list of diverse books for early readers.
As Ernestine Benedict, chief communications officer with ZERO TO THREE shared with Early Learning Nation Magazine, “Seeing characters that look like them and stories that represent their own experiences tells children that their lives are worthy of being thought about, discussed and celebrated.”
Try to include children and families from different racial or cultural backgrounds in your guest list.
Our action kit has a wealth of ideas for classrooms, libraries, parks and recreation centers and faith communities for children and youth of all ages – many of which can be done at home or in your neighborhood too.
Learning to value each other and love one’s own identity are early building blocks of learning to be human. Let’s ensure kids are set with the right tools from the start.