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Finding Courage to Address Big Questions
October 30, 2019
Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.
-William Arthur Ward
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"We are living in a time where the sentiments and meanness of racism have been fully unleashed," writes Nadia Jaboneta in her helpful book, You Can’t Celebrate That: Navigating the Deep Waters of Social Justice Teaching. "While I was growing up, my mom – an immigrant from Peru and a proud American citizen – often urged us to 'Fight for your rights!' Her self-confidence and powerful stance were shaken this year when someone in the grocery store confronted her, telling her to 'speak English and go back to your own country.'

That experience only strengthened my desire to be a leader in this work. I see firsthand how racism infuses all of our lives, White people and people of color, children and adults…I’ve begun to listen for opportunities to take up the conversation about race and religion with children as a way to plant the seeds for a more just society. To prepare myself for those moments when issues of race and religion surface in my classroom, I’ve crafted a set of questions to guide my response…

  • What touches my heart about this situation?
  • What in my background or personal life is influencing my feeling and thinking right now?
  • What might the children’s families hope I’ll say or do?
  • How do my values about diversity and equity play into this situation?"




You Can’t Celebrate That!
Navigating the Deep Waters of Social Justice Teaching

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Find inspiration in this compelling story of an educator's social justice journey as she partners with families to explore racial identity, religious celebrations, and racism in response to a biased comment by one child to another in her diverse preschool class.

You Can't Celebrate That! is part of the Reimagining Our Work (ROW) collection. Use the ROW collection to discover how early childhood educators in the field are reimagining their work and thinking alongside children.

Use code CELEBRATE when prompted.

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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Sarker Javed Iqbal · October 30, 2019
Self employed
Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bangladesh


There is a popular song in Bangla written and sung by Bhupen Hazarika where the first two lines are "Amay ekta shada manush dao jar rokto shada. Amay ekta kalo manush dao jar rokto kalo." (Show me white man whose blood is white. Show me black man whose blood is black). Then why do we differentiate when everyone's blood is red?

Tracy Patton · October 30, 2019
The Children's Center of Cicero Berwyn
Cicero, IL, United States


FABULOUS book, wonderful ideas. It is still being passed around and shared with all our staff so we can brainstorm going into the holidays season...



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