Hello Forest Friends Families,
I hope that everyone is staying safe and taking care of themselves. If you have the capacity, and are looking for ways to engage with the police violence against our black community right now with your children, there are some incredible resources circulating for facilitating these important conversations. I am including resources compiled by other CCS teachers, as well as from the Philly Children’s Movement. 
For some folks in our community, talking about race and BLM is not a choice but a necessity. If this conversation does not feel pressing, or the discomfort of it overwhelming, please reach out to me. These conversations can be messy and uncomfortable, and god knows I’ve botched some. I am happy to talk one on one with anyone unsure where to start or anxious about appropriateness. 
From Magnolia Teachers, here is some advice for having a conversation about BLM:

Talking with your child about the protests against police violence: To help you think about age-appropriate conversations to have with your child, here is the script we used to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement in February of this year, as well as some conversation-starters for you and your child: 

  • “Black Lives Matter is a movement, which means a group of people who all believe the same thing. In our country, Black people are not treated fairly. The people in this movement don’t think that is OK. We say, “Black Lives Matter” to let people know that that is what we believe. Right now, people all across the country are coming together to protest and make their voices heard.” 

  • “People protest when they feel like their voices are not being heard. What do you do when you are trying to tell someone something important and they aren’t listening? What do you do when you are really angry and no one is hearing you?” 

  • If a child asks a question which you do not feel prepared to answer, you can always say, “That is a wonderful and incredibly important question. It is so important that I am going to think about it for a little while and answer your question later, to make sure I give you a really good answer.”

In addition, here is a resource for talking to kids about Black Lives Matter guiding principles. And here is a collection of resources, from Redbud Teachers, for talking to kids about racism and resources for taking anti-racist action in Philly. 
If activities are helpful for you for framing and grounding these conversations, Philly’s Children Movement has some activity ideas:
  • Sidewalk chalk-talk: Create some messaging for everyone who walks by. What do you want them to know and do right now?
  • Sign-making: In the spirit of PCM, invite children and neighbors to make signs, drawings, or banners and post them for the community to see. 
  • Toy Protest: Make small signs with tape and small pieces of paper. Have your stuffies, action figures, and dolls speak out about what needs to change. (Remember, Play is how children learn. It is how they process. Observe closely as they play to learn what they are thinking and feeling about what is happening.) 
  • Candlelight Vigil: While the one organized for Saturday has passed, you can hold a vigil any night. Light a candle (or several) for the lives impacted and lost to the pandemic, racism, and white supremacy. Spend some time in your window, on your front steps, porch, or sidewalk- talking (at least 8 feet apart!) with other neighbors and other families.   
Today, June and I made a BLM sign to hang up in the window; I found it helpful to have a conversation about racism while working together on something tactile. I paused to paint while processing things she said and deciding how I wanted to answer.
Please reach out about ways we can support you right now, and any particular kinds of resources that would be helpful for guiding these conversations.
Much love,
Forest Friends Teachers