Talking to Children About Current Events: Egypt

Talking to Children About Current Events: Egypt

Reposted from Learning at the Library.

Written by Victoria Lebron.

I'm currently pursuing a Masters in the Elementary and Inclusive Ed Program here at TC.  I can't wait to have my own classroom someday soon where I can work with a community of dynamic children every day. But sometimes I forget about the fact that children will always come to class with questions about the world around them. Some of those questions will be tough to answer; some may not even have an answer - or at least not a satisfying one. For instance, most of the world is watching as people in Egypt do something unprecedented in the nation's ( but not the region's) history: protest against their leadership for a better quality of life. Children might not understand why these people are fighting, it may not make sense that they are throwing rocks at each other and getting hurt, all in the name of politics. I can't even begin to know how I would take my first step at addressing this topic in my classroom. But I wouldn't shy away from it if it came up. Actually, I think that while the conversation could be awkward, it would very likely be an enriching and eye opening experience for the children and me. In my curiosity for exactly how to address this type of question, I stumbled upon this website called GrowMama. It is a site for Muslim mothers. The page that I linked to offers some ideas for how to talk to children about current events, including the protests in Egypt. The idea of discussing politics with children is not new. Bill Ayers has been doing it for at least two decades, and TC's own Celia Oyler is a big proponent for empowering young children to exercise their civil freedoms. In  fact, just this past week the library hosted a book talk with Daniel Massey, who wrote Under Protest: The Rise of Student Resistance at the University of Fort Hare.  The book is about college students, but apartheid is a concept that can certainly be discussed with elementary aged students. Children sometimes have clearer views on politics than adults. I think this is mainly because they have not been exposed to as many opinions and have not had as many opinion-forming experiences as we adults have. I bet one can learn a lot by talking to children about politics. Do you have experience talking to children about current events? Please share your experiences! P.S. If you are interested in reading a bit more about what's happening on the ground in Egypt, please check out this guy's blog.

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