Children have a deep sense of fairness which they use to guide their interactions with their peers and families. They know how many turns each person gets and notice if the cookies are evenly distributed.
When your child begins to notice differences in the world around them, they are ready to begin talking about issues of social justice. They may begin to talk about gender roles, skin colour, physical differences, and notice that people live in different places than they do. It can be difficult to have these discussions with young children, but stories can help.
- Reading stories about other cultures and history builds empathy and fairness.
- Reading stories can help children understand their own culture and history. Look at your child’s personal library to see if some of their books reflect your family.
- Reading stories helps to expose children to events outside of their personal experiences in age-appropriate ways.
- Reading stories can honour your child’s culture and personal experiences. They can help your child feel connected to their culture and understand more about their place in the world.
- Stories can remind children that all people are important and that everyone can have a voice that is valuable. Help your child choose books that offer different perspectives on a topic.
- Stories can help children understand how they can make a difference. Reading about social justice topics makes learning more meaningful and helps your child apply their knowledge to create positive social change.
As a parent, reading stories with topics of social justice can help you navigate sensitive subjects. After listening to a story, your child may have questions which you can help them to process. Stories may also give them the words to express their feelings. Answer your child’s questions honestly, but provide only as much information as you need too. You can also share some of your own feelings about the topic.