How to Start Talking About Race in the Early Elementary Classroom

When it comes to race in America, there is still much to talk about. Children are not born knowing how to talk about race, but they learn through experience. It is important for teachers to start the conversation in the early elementary classroom so that children can begin to learn how to discuss these sensitive topics respectfully and productively. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation:

1. Be proactive. If you are planning to have a conversation about race in your classroom, be proactive in setting the tone. Start by acknowledging that race is a big topic and that it can be difficult to talk about. Let your students know that you are committed to helping them learn about race and fostering a respectful environment.

2. Involve your students. Rather than talking about race all by ourselves, it is important to involve our students. Ask them to share their thoughts and feelings about race and encourage them to be active participants in the conversation.

3. Be sensitive to your students’ ages and abilities. It is important to be sensitive to the fact that some students might not be ready to discuss race in depth. Instead, focus on providing your students with information and tools that they can use to discuss race more effectively.

4. Use resources. There are many great resources available for helping you start the conversation about race in your classroom. Some of our favorites include “The Color of My World: A Kid’s Guide to Understanding Racism” and “The Race Card: How Playing the Race Card Divides Us by J.D. Vance”.

By taking these steps, you can help your students learn how to discuss race in a respectful and productive way. 

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