Hi STP families,
With everything that is going on around us during these challenging times, I am reminded how important it is to provide a safe, caring, inclusive, loving and respectful environment at St. Thomas’ Preschool. I know how hard it is to process and figure out how to talk to your children about complicated issues these days. Mine are teenagers/adults and I am still navigating how to discuss these important issues with my children. My 19 year old daughter Lexi asked me a question last week that I had trouble answering. She asked me, “ Mom, I feel like young kids at your preschool love everything and everyone so much. What age do people start caring less about others and the world? Why does that happen?” Two words I hear over and over in the halls and classrooms of St. Thomas Preschool are “Be Kind.” Though those two simple words aren’t an answer, they are a start. I believe, even more so now, in the importance of continuing to teach these words over and over to your children throughout preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college and on and on…
My heart has been heavy these past 2 weeks with the recent death of George Floyd and I feel it is my job to create that environment of kindness and love to everyone at STP. I have spent the past week asking myself and others, what can we do at STP? As I spoke to others I received lists and lists of books to send to all of you but then one of my teachers suggested start small, a stepping stone, one book at a time. That felt right to me because these conversations need to start young so we can have a community that is embracing and supportive of all children and families. The book They all saw a cat by Brendan Wenzel was suggested to me and after looking at reviews I thought it was a great book to start with. It teaches a child empathy and how our perceptions change depending on our own experiences and who we are. The cat is seen by humans and all different animals and what is important is that this “seeing” changes with every creature. I read a review about how to talk to your child about this book, which said, “there’s a good chance that the way you see the world isn’t the same way the person next to you does. Everyone, everywhere sees the world different from his or her neighbor. Is it any wonder we have problems? The solution is to try and see things from another person’s view. Now, if the kids think you’re speaking literally or figuratively, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve planted the seed. Or, rather, the book has.”
My goal is to have a book series that will be available on our website and in the classrooms, with a little reflection on how to talk to your child about the book. If you are looking for more resources for your child on empathy, acceptance and tolerance I am happy to provide further information.
If anyone has any suggestions/comments regarding race and diversity, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I want to make conversations like these open to everyone so we all can make a collective effort to create change.
Our school is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and their website has many resources for children and families https://www.episcopalschools.org/article/racial-justice-resources-for-episcopal-schools/ . Also our own church website has resources available at https://stthomaswhitemarsh.org/.
With much love,
“They All Saw A Cat” by Brendan Wenzel