I think with the best intentions, we included children in discussions about the election. But I wonder - are kids really ready for the gravity of what's going on in the political arena?
How do we support children during this tumultuous political climate? How can we protect their childhood, protect them from political tensions and fears, while also using current events to extract learning opportunities that are age appropriate?
In these situations, I fall back to what I do best - let the children take the lead.
We sat down for circle time and, after singing a very lighthearted good morning song, saying each of their names with a "horray" that they came to school today, I asked if anyone had anything on their mind that they'd like to share about. Not a single child talked about the election. As we went around the circle, children shared about their upcoming playdates, injuries they've had recently, their siblings' birthday parties, where they're going to dinner tonight, what they brought to school today. The really, really important things for the kids.
The children seemed resilient to what is happening politically, and I guess my job is to preserve childhood in the best way that I can, by doing what I do every day - play. And if they are trying to sort out stuff they're hearing and seeing, it's going to come out in their play.
So here we go back to what we do every day. Foster love. Encourage children to live from their hearts and their own personal and pure sense of right and wrong. Focus on what binds us and unites us rather than what pulls us apart. Value what is important and give them a voice to express their feelings and thoughts and ideas. Be the outspoken leaders of tomorrow. And today.
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