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Social Justice Learning for Early Childhood Educators

by Shannon Wanless, Ashley Shafer, and Alexandria Grant-Presser
July/August 2022
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/social-justice-learning-for-early-childhood-educators/5026624/

Aida: She/Her

Jonah: He/Him 

Vihn: He/Him

Mr. Derek: He/Him

Four-year-old Aida quickly begins to tear apart the spongy injera to dip into her chickpea stew. Her friend Jonah says, “Aida, we aren’t allowed to eat with our hands at school.”

Aida replies, “At home we sometimes eat with our hands. It’s easy for scooping.”

Another classmate, Vihn, says, “I eat with a big spoon when I eat noodles at home.”

“I use a fork!” exclaims another.

Mr. Derek listens to his students. He knows that this is an important moment for helping children see injustice and speak up for change. He turns to the class and says, “It sounds  like we all prefer to eat in different ways, and that our school rules might not be fair because they only allow one way. Why do we have a school rule that makes it easy for some children to eat lunch, and hard for others? Our rules are not equitable.”

“You’re right!” Vihn declares.

Aida turns to Mr. Derek and asks, “Can we come up with a new rule during circle?” Mr. Derek gives her a thumbs up and makes a note to share this moment with the other teachers in his social justice learning community.

Making space in early childhood ...

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