I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with my pilot school teachers in Rivervale, NJ. We were catching up the summer and talking about our 2nd year. We talked about how they were now seasoned and really looking forward to starting the program from the beginning of the school year. We are also including a full parent outreach this year. The last topic we talked about was how the children were reacting to the current news.
My surprise and shock when they began to tell me stories about the election and how so many had opinions about Donald Trump and how they would hear them even arguing over what their parents were saying. The teachers also said, some of them there for over 10 years, that this is the first time ever that they have had to deal with this in their classrooms. It often got heated.
Four and five year old children talking about politics is not a laughing matter. Having heated arguments in preschool classrooms is telling and very disturbing. We have young children spouting doctrine along with identifying with now a President who has little or no emotional intelligence. They hear their parents talking, they are watching TV, they are not being shielded from conversation that is not developmentally appropriate and they are translating it into their own simple language and thoughts that are black and white.
Every home and every school must put in place a way to shield our beautiful, good and loving children from absorbing this outpouring of hatred and racism. Listen carefully to their conversations and use their own words to reflect back to them the goodness and kindness in their friends, teachers and families. Plan a service activity with groups of different faiths and cultures. Talk about the differences and talk about how we all are alike and that we all have the same emotions and feelings. Ask them to say what they are grateful for in their everyday lives and the people they love and know.
Be Aware! Be Vigilant! Be Loving!