Last December, Megan McCarter Martell, the executive director of programs at the Odyssey School, attended an event on teaching children about racism and was delighted to find the space packed. The one-time, two-hour seminar put on by Justina Prenatt of Clover Heart Concepts was a success, but Martell had the idea to make it bigger. "After the event I went up to Justina and told her we had to do this again," Martell explains. "I wanted to provide more time and space; there has been a need for a conversation like this for a really long time."
Now Martell and Prenatt are teaming up to do just that: create a free four-part series for educators and parents alike to learn how to discuss racism and racial justice with children. The series will focus on teaching parents and educators how to cultivate a healthy understanding of racial diversity with children as they face scenarios at home and in school that deal with racism in our culture. The cumulative sessions will delve into varying levels of a child's understanding, and will include the fundamentals of defining race, discussions on issues of racism, its presentation, and how to overcome it to celebrate diversity.
Each two-hour class will start off with an informational session with Prenatt, then break off into a workshop environment with facilitators to help keep conversations flowing. The group sessions will also include time for educators and parents with children of the same age group to talk more pointedly on how racism should be discussed for that particular developmental stage.
"I'm grateful for the interest we have in our community to have these tough conversations about race, and to move forward together," says Mitchell.
Teaching Kids about Racism & Racial Justice will be held at the Odyssey School on April 4th and 18th, May 2nd and 16th from 6PM to 8PM. Organizers request pre-registration: complete it online or contact the school at firstname.lastname@example.org, (828) 259-3653. Childcare is available upon request.