Racial Justice Resources to Promote Social and Emotional Skills: Bringing Families Together to Build Community Well-being
Nydia Ntouda: On today's webinar, we have Antonio Freitas. He will tell us a little bit more about himself. Take it away from here, Antonio.
Antonio Freitas: Thanks, Nydia. And thanks to the more than 230 people that have joined us today. We're so excited to connect with you all for, as Nydia said, this second of three webcasts we've been doing on the Thursdays in the first, second, and third weeks of September.
As children's first learning circles, families are at the center of a child's world and help to show and share the ways to build community. Through trusted relationships, shared experiences, children make sense of the world through the leadership and opportunities created with the adults in their circle of care.
Today, your friends at the Sesame Workshop are excited to continue the second of three conversations using our newest racial justice resources to promote social-emotional skills. For our talk today, we'll play in the sandbox with some Sesame Street in Communities resources that you can use with Head Start children and families to build that community of well-being.
As mentioned, my name is Antonio Freitas and I work here as the director of educational experiences on the US social impact team at the Sesame Workshop in New York City and as a partner to the NCHBHS National Center. I'm delighted to share with you today some of the tools our team has worked on to create and use with children, providers, and caregivers across the neighborhood.
While our first webcast last week explored storybook and workshop assets that staff can use in their work and conversations and play with children and families, today's conversation is going to actually be centered on how a child's role in a family can be explored in your early learning settings with caring staff interested in using interactive games and videos to explore ways to keep families engaged in daily programming.
Now as mentioned before by Nydia, if you didn't get a chance to watch our first workshop last week, don't fret. We've recorded it, and we'll make it available on the ECLKC website. But for now, all you need to know is that each of our three webcasts will dive deep into the topic page on racial justice and explore the ways to use two types of assets based on the resources available.
Today, we're going to be using interactive games and videos to generate a few ways to introduce these resources to the programs that you work in and the families that you engage with. But before we start, let's take a quick moment to watch a video and catch our breath together with a Muppet mindful moment.
Grover: It is Monster Meditation with your old pal Grover.
Andy: And me, Andy.
Grover: Oh, there is so much I want to do today.
Andy: Hi, Grover.
Grover: Huh? Oh, it is my soothing voice friend Andy. Hello, Andy.
Andy: Looks like you’ve got a lot of things.
Grover: Oh yes. Today I have to go roller skating, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, and get dressed all at once. Now if you’ll excuse me. Whoa whoa whoa!
Grover: Yes, Andy?
Andy: I think you’re doing too many things at once. How about we start with one thing, a monster meditation.
Grover: Monster meda wah wah?
Andy: Meditation. It’s a mindfulness activity to help you do one thing at a time.
Grover: Well, maybe just until I catch my breath. Come on follow along and do monster meditation with us.
Andy: Let’s start with some belly breaths. Put your hands on your belly. Take a slow deep breath in, and slowly breathe out.
Grover: [Breathe in] [Breathe out] Ah.
Andy: Very good. Now, we’re going to say a rhyme to help us focus and do things one at a time. When you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out. Count one, two, then do.
Grover: Ah, very clever Andy. When you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out. Count one, two, then do. I will start by getting dressed.
Andy: Great job Grover. One thing done. What’s next?
Grover: Well, when you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out. Count one, two, then do. Well, I shall have breakfast.
Andy: Nice job, Grover. You're really moving through all the things you wanted to do.
Grover: I am. But when you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out. Count one, two, then do. Now I shall brush my teeth.
Andy: See how much you can accomplish when you slow down and focus on one thing at a time.
Grover: I sure do. When you have so much to do, breathe in, breathe out. Count one, two, then do. [Laughs] Thanks for all the help, Andy. But now, I got to roll.
Andy: You're welcome, Grover. Remember when you feel overwhelmed, take a step back and do things one at a time.
Grover: [Breathe in] [Breathe out] Count one, two, then do.
Andy: Have fun, Grover.
Grover: Whoa whoa whoa whoa! Do not worry. I am OK.
Antonio: Friends, now that we've breathed in and out and counted one, two, we can actually jump in and get some things done. The resources discussed across our webcasts can be found free on our digital platform Sesame Street in Communities or ssic.org.
Just by clicking into that website, you gain access to an online content hub of more than 3,000 different assets across more than 30 different topic pages. From healthy bodies and healthy minds to ABCs and 123s and even topics connected to difficult times and tough talks, the resources reflected on SSIC help families both children and the adults in their lives take small steps. By doing that, we can increase their chances of successful outcomes in school and in life. Again, it's about helping the adults build our own resilience as we work to help children thrive.
Sesame Street in Communities is that model that uses three components to reach children in communities through channels that we traditionally have not been able to access. This includes an online content hub, this curated collection of the best of our community engagement work created over decades and with new content updated monthly. The professional development resources, my personal favorite that we get to use and create to help build providers like you and increase the work that you do with children and families with things like webinars, training videos, and courses. Finally, implementation partners like this group that enable members to continue the work that you're already doing with just one more tool as a resource that you can use with everyone in the neighborhood.
As you go through the websites today and the resources connected to the racial justice topic page, keep in mind the work you do across programs, the conversations you're already having with families, and also the potential ways to thread this work into the play that you're doing with kids each and every day. Across each of our topics pages, we've included six different ways to communicate big ideas to people big and small. Today, we're going to continue to explore the racial justice topic page by highlighting two more assets, interactive games and videos.
In workshop one last week, we explored storybooks, those digital texts that can be read aloud or followed on screen. And children can follow the color-coded words being read by a Sesame friend in English or in Spanish while turning the pages of that digital book or cozy up to a caring adult like you who can also read to them. In "Outside, Inside", we explore together the ways that Wes and his father Elijah stayed together in the community neighborhood that they did around the world.
Workshops, those second bundled resources that we have, include a combination of those different assets that we've created here at Sesame Street and that we have found work really well together. In the workshop "Remembering What I'm All About" that we reviewed last week, we together watched the video, "We Are Somebody" and strategized about the ways to use the resources with children and families.
Sesame Street in Communities builds on the more than 50-year commitment to serving and learning from families and providers working to build smarter, stronger, kinder kids, one relationship at a time. The strategy that we use to reach this goal is to engage everyone in the neighborhood in finding their role in helping to create resilient families.
Now, we're going to ground this second conversation in who you are and the conversations you're having with children and families in your care. Take a minute to reflect on those in the Head Start communities that you support. What are the questions connected to race and identity that children and families have asked you? Use the chat window to let us know a little bit more about the questions that you're getting asked.
Thanks to Toyah for getting started. Why is someone skinned lighter or darker than mine is often a question that children might begin with because they're really understanding and trying to codify who they are in comparison to other people by figuring out what things are the same and what things are different, and oftentimes, that starts with visual anchors and visual comparisons. Where are some other great questions like that?
Great. Shonda says she's had the same question. Sandy, being able to dress and talk about children that are of multiple racial backgrounds and cultures. Tammy, being able to talk about how people understand who they are on the inside and outside and then how that is communicated to people outside.
These are all questions that are important to think about. That are important to affirm that children and families might have. We also might need to be thinking about how we can answer them in ways that are most developmentally appropriate. The way that we at the Sesame Workshop have been able to address some of those things is by gamifying the experience and by doing that through something that we call interactive games.
Interactive games are those activities where children use devices like phones or tablets and computers to explore settings and circumstances like their furry friends to practice and to role play the best ways to handle different settings. These headings can be a preschool, a doctor's office, and even tools for adults to answer children's questions in developmentally appropriate ways.
On our racial justice topic page, we've been able to develop three different types of interactive games to help begin and address the questions that children and families might direct towards you. The first, "Let's Talk About Race," the second, "Welcome to Our Garden," and the third, "I Am Me," are things we're going to be delving in a little bit deeper today.
In "I Am Me," the interactive game where families can help begin to see together and later focus on how they can use language to describe themselves on the inside and out in a digital way, using arts and crafts on a screen to match a character's description of themselves with the player. In "Let's Talk About Race," staff can choose from five different topic pages to engage with children in important conversations, thoughts, and actions around racial justice. In "Welcome to Our Garden," you'll have a chance to work with children to create your own community garden of rocks that tell a little bit more about everyone in the neighborhood. But first, we're going to start with your questions in the interactive game, "Let's Talk About Race."
Engaging meaningfully with children around race and racial justice can set the stage for a lifetime of pride, understanding, strength, respect, empathy, and confidence. In addition to some of the different ways that you might consider trying to use this, you might also think about using different types of buckets of questioning. Because there are five different types that I want to show you on ssic.org right now.
When you first click into ssic.org and if we start at the top, you'll have that page that welcomes you in that includes the option to volley between English or Spanish, between caregiver or provider. Once you've been able to start that, your page will default to that regularly.
I'm going to continue to move over my screen past the Partner Portal and over Professional Development that highlights again those four different types of ways we share information with the adults in a child's line of work and circle of care and over to topics. Under topics, I'm going to go down to R for racial justice as these are all reflected in alphabetical order.
You have here the introductory video that tells us what the page is all about with a quick overview in words that summarize the key ideas and concepts that we began to address last week and the options to save it in your profile, to upload it into your own personal library page, or to print it out and take it on the go with you if you happen to be working with children or families out of an early learning space.
As you continue to scroll down the page, you'll see a wide variety of different resources that you can use all color-coded in the bottom right-hand corner to give you a sense of what type of asset that is. As you click into any individual one, it'll give you even more of a scripted breakdown of how to best use it. If you're short on time or with a specific look for an activity, you can use the filter option, which lets you select the best tool, based on the age of the person you're working with, the length of time you have with that person, and the type of asset that is.
Now since today we're talking about interactive games, I'm going to go down to Interactive and click Find. What this will do is bump to the top just those interactive games specific to our racial justice page. I'm going to click on "Let's Talk About Race," explain, connect, describe, and explore. When I do, it opens up a page for me that includes a big idea and gives me a sense of what this game is intended for and what it's all about.
As I said before, engaging meaningfully with children around race and racial justice can set the stage for a lifetime of pride, understanding, strength, respect, empathy, and confidence. As you continue to look a little bit further down the page, you include the title, the topic page that it's under, the intended audience we've created this asset for, and about the length of time that you might want to play using it.
Because everyone has a different way they might want to use this game, you know the children and the families in your care the best and it sounds like you have a much better sense of the different questions you're being asked. This is really a great place to go if you're trying to figure out the best way to provide an answer back.
This game, "Let's Talk About Race" includes five different buckets: Important Questions, All About Me, Making a Difference, Big Feelings, and I Am Somebody. Today, we're going to take a look and see what some of those questions can be and the answers that you've been given.
This, like all of our different assets, are reflected in English and Spanish. For today's conversation, I'm going to click into English. When I do, you see the five different types of buckets that include specific questions, developmentally appropriate answers, and activities that children can do with the adults in their lives.
Because we started this conversation with some of the questions that you've been asked, we're going to go into that as the first page to explore. This gives you a prompt to think about why do you think someone's skin color is different from yours, which goes to the question that was asked a little bit earlier. Why do you think people skin comes in different colors?
When you hover over the box at the bottom that says explain, you get an age-appropriate developmentally responsive answer that you can share with everyone. That melanin is something that we each have inside of our bodies that make the outside of our bodies the skin color that it is. It also gives us our eye and our hair color. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin can be.
This question, like so many more, can be reflected in this box as well as a couple of the other ones. Let's take a look at one more box. How about the Big Feelings one?
You might say to a child or a family or even a whole class in your care, when we're having a hard day, it can help us to remember all of the people we love and who love us. Then you can try it by making a list of those people or calling or planning a visit with them, drawing a picture, or even writing them a text, email, or a letter. In this way and connected to this topic, you have a wide variety of different prompts to engage with children by asking questions, providing answers, thinking about activist steps that you can take, sharing who children are on the inside and out, and be able to talk about the feelings that they have as they process these identities.
Developing now a sense of who we are on the inside and out is really part of that identity. For many military families, especially living in spaces around the world, it's important for children to develop language to talk about diversity in these varied spaces that they live. This interactive game called "I Am Me" can help families begin conversations about how children might describe themselves on the inside and out by thinking about the words that their furry friends use to identify.
Let's take a look and then see what that looks like. I'm going to go to that second game, "I Am Me." You'll see again, the big idea is developing a sense of who we are is vital to who we are. It's under the topic page racial justice. It is for children ages 2 to 6, and it's about 10 minutes long. I'm going to click right underneath the picture icon to launch the game "I Am Me," and you'll see a little bit more about how we play it.
Thanks for being patient, friends. The computer and the heart are slowly coming together. I'm going to make sure my screen is sharing. You can choose to play this game in closed captioning with the words on the top or with pictures and the sounds of the different characters.
But in this game, Elmo and his furry friend Rosita are working with the other members of their neighborhood to help draw portraits. If we take a look on Wes and Eli, this gives you a sense, and as the computer's processing, which might be why it's a little slow.
Friends, we'll give this about 15 more seconds. If it continues to lag, we can switch it up.
Wes explains that his name is Wes, that he is 5 years old and loves designing buildings, but that he needs some help finishing his self-portrait. When we created this game, we wanted to be intentional that when people describe themselves and ask for help in figuring out how to add pictures and depth into the arts and crafts of these pictures, that the language came from the characters themselves, that people when they talk about and define who they are to the earlier questions that people were using in the chat window should be able to use their words and not the words of other people to describe themselves.
All right, friends, in the interest of time, we're going to go into one last game to have you think a little bit more about how you can play it.
In our last interactive game "Welcome to Our Garden," you can invite children to join the Sesame Street friends in creating a community garden in this on-screen activity. The Welcome Garden helps everyone remember that they are an important part of our community and include specific gardens for Abby, Elijah, Wes, and Elmo. You can use the tools around the blank rock to color, to provide heart stickers, stamps, and your own personalized Muppet to a rock, before erasing them and starting over.
Prior to beginning the activity, we encourage staff to watch the video with children. Let's take a look at it together and then talk a little bit more about what you might be able to do with it. Thanks, but I'm going to reshare the sound to make sure that everybody can hear it OK.
Ms. Avana: Hi, neighbors.
Everyone: Hi, Ms. Avana!
Ms. Avana: Thank you for coming to our community welcome back to school celebration.
Elijah: Who can remember what a community is? Wes?
Wes: OK. A community is like our neighborhood. A community is where we all belong.
Rosita: Oh yes, like a school community.
Elijah: That's right. Yeah. Bringing everyone in our community together to make a welcome garden. Well, that's a great way to start the school year.
Ms. Avana: Oh, and I see you've already started to paint your rocks for our welcome garden.
Wes: Yeah. I'm painting one with the sun on it because my dad is a meteorologist.
Rosita: Excuse me. What is a mete–
Wes: A meteorologist.
Wes: Yes, perfect. A meteorologist is someone who tells everyone what the weather's going to be every day.
Elijah: That's right, son. Today's forecast is looking like sunshine and happiness.
Wes: What's on your rock, Rosita?
Rosita: Let me show you. Yeah, I'm painting a rainbow on mine. See. Because I like how all the different colors come together. Look.
Ms. Avana: Wow! Well, that's great. Keep up the good work everyone. I'm going to go handle more rocks for everyone to paint.
Ji-Young: Oh, wow! Hey!
Rosita: Hi, Ji-Young.
Ji-Young: Hello, everybody.
Elijah: Hi Ji-Young. You can paint whichever rock you want.
Ji-Young: Thank you. I have a question.
Ji-Young: Why are we painting rocks?
Rosita: We're painting rocks for our welcome garden.
Ms. Avana: Do you see how these rocks are all different shapes and sizes and colors, yet they still look beautiful together?
Ms. Avana: That's just like us.
Ji-Young: That is so cool. Oh, I want to paint my rock purple with a music note.
Rosita: Is that because you love music?
Ji-Young: Yeah. I love to play my electric guitar. Oh, and I want to paint another one with a heart because I love all my friends.
Rosita: Oh, that is so nice.
Elijah: You know, Ji-Young, that heart is like the love we all share in our community.
Rosita: Yeah. It is. Yeah. Let's finish our rocks, so we can take them to the welcome garden for everyone to see.
Wes: Oh right.
Rosita: Yeah. Let's do it.
Ji-Young: Here's a good spot for my music note one.
Wes: Oh yeah. Hey, it really rocks.
Wes: Mine is bringing sunshine and happiness, just like my dad says.
Ji-Young: Oh nice.
Rosita: Look, your sunshine one brightens up my rainbow one.
Wes: Thanks, Rosita.
Ji-Young: Oh wow! Look at all these amazing rocks.
Rosita: They really are beautiful together.
Wes: Yeah, just like us.
Antonio: Thanks for watching that. I'm just going to go very quickly back to Lilia's question from the chat window. Where do I find these videos? They're actually in two different places, but luckily on the same page. If you go again back to ssic.org and you scroll over to topics by clicking into racial justice, you'll see that breakdown of all of the different laundry list of resources and activities that you can do with children. Because today we're talking about a focus on interactive games and videos, I'm going to click interactive, and those three different types of digital games we were just talking through our reference here.
When I click on the "Welcome to Our Garden," it will give you the breakdown of the different types of garden that you can continue to draw in including Abby's, Elijah's, Wes's, Elmo's, and Rosita's. The video that we actually just saw is embedded in the game. You can watch it before it even starts just by hyperlinking that Welcome Garden video up here, it's in the Welcome Garden actual interactive game.
After we encourage people to watch these videos together with children and to notice the different rocks that friends have painted to add to the garden, they might engage in a conversation. Why did they paint what they painted? You might even ask or encourage children to make it themselves either on the screen in their own blank rock or to actually go into your own physical garden or part of your neighborhood community space to make your own family rock garden. You might gather smooth flat rocks, decorate them with names, messages, or images, and then set them down in or around a person's home or even your early childhood space. Permanent markers will actually work fine to make the rocks waterproof, and you can actually even use self-sealing acrylic paint to do it as well.
You can also again include that as a community version if you didn't want to do it as a family one or if you didn't want to encourage families to do it on their own and bring rocks back. This is one of those games where you don't necessarily need the actual physical attributes, you can just play it on the screen and get to very many of the same results using and encouraging children to think about who they are on the inside and how they share that on the outside.
Now, we're at that fun part where we talk about the things that made Sesame famous more than 50 years ago, and that was the videos, the Muppet faces and places that first made the Sesame Workshop a brand name that people around the world recognize. Videos created here at the Sesame Workshop have helped to power the ways that Sesame has been able to educate while entertaining. On a racial justice topic page, we have a wealth of videos, as you can see, that can help everyone in the neighborhood better appreciate the ways that distinctions and similarities that we have with our neighbors can help us recognize the unique strengths and skills grown at home and shared within classrooms and communities.
In engaged spaces with growing students, every day is an adventure. As children talk, listen, and playfully work to make sense of the world around them, lessons can sometimes be learned the hard way. Children don't always share toys or take turns, and students may sometimes confuse needs with wants. Challenging behavior, misunderstood actions, and even mean words can compromise the focus, and the community that even the most seasoned provider may not anticipate. Working together to build culturally-responsive learning spaces can teach children that the value of not only collaboration but bringing who you are on the outside as a family into who you are on the inside as a student can help us powerfully see the importance of different perspectives.
We're going to take a minute to watch a video to think about how you can use it in your space with children. In the video "Proud of Your Eyes, Annalyn" whose family is from the Philippines, is having big feelings because she's actually being teased about her eyes. Her new friends, Wes and Alan, are there to support her. Led by Alan, they sing a quick song about how their eyes are beautiful and how they tell the story of their family.
For children who have been adopted and are of a different race from members of their family, you might consider taking this as an opportunity to expand the concept of family history and how ancestry is now part of a new family history. The idea that they might sing in the song that you'll hear is the way that we look tells the story of your family, that it tells where you came from and how you came to be. But it's not the only important story. As we watch the video "Proud of Your Eyes" together now, I'm going to double dog dare you to use the chat window and share with us how you might integrate this into the work you're already doing with children and families and how you use it to create and extend multiple perspectives and empathy.
Alan: Here is a picture of my dad, Victor.
Wes: Oh, you look just like him.
Wes: Oh, hey, Annalyn. Are you ready to make a family scrapbook?
Alan: Yeah, you are right on time.
Alan: Annalyn, is everything all right? What happened? You know you can always talk to us about how you're feeling.
Annalyn: I was at the park today and the boy told me I was ugly. He made fun of my eyes. He said they look slanty.
Alan: Oh, I'm so sorry that happened to you. That child was wrong to say those things to you. Your eyes are the perfect eyes for you. Just like my eyes are the perfect ones for me.
Annalyn: I told him that he was wrong and that he hurt my feelings. My friend stood by me. But is it true? Are my eyes ugly?
Wes: No, you have pretty eyes.
Alan: Everything about you is beautiful, both inside and out.
Annalyn: Thanks. But I'm still really sad.
Alan: I understand how you're feeling because the same thing happened to me, and it's very hurtful.
Wes: I'm sorry they were mean to you, Annalyn.
Alan: You know, sometimes when I'm sad, I like to sing. It helps me feel better, and I know the perfect song.
[Singing] I see in your eyes that you feel hurt. Just know that they were wrong. Someone said things that made you sad. You were beautiful all along. Your eyes are wonderful. And the girl here with me I see is someone wonderful. Yes, the girl here with me is someone wonderful. Your eyes tell the story of your family. They show where you come from and how you came to be. The color, the shape and the size should always make you proud of your eyes.
Wes: [Singing] Maybe your eyes look different from mine. They're part of who we are. But when we both smile our eyes both shine as bright as any star. Your eyes are beautiful. And when you look at me, I see someone wonderful.
Alan and Wes: [Singing] When you look at us, we see someone wonderful.
All: [Singing] Your eyes tell the story of your family to show where you came from and how you came to be.
Wes: The colors …
Annalyn: The shape …
Alan: And the size …
All: [Singing] Should always make you proud of your eyes.
Annalyn: [Singing] I can always be proud of my eyes. [Music ends]
That song reminded me that my eyes look just like my Lola’s. She's from the Philippines, and I think she's beautiful.
Alan: Oh, your grandmother is beautiful.
Alan: Look, my eyes are the same as my dad's. I'm really proud that I look like him because both our eyes make us special and unique.
Wes: My eyes are kind of different from my dad's.
Alan: Yeah. But even if your eyes aren't exactly like your parents, they still tell the story of your family.
Annalyn: Singing with you helped me feel better.
Alan: Singing songs is a great way to help when you have big feelings, and you can do it when you're by yourself.
Wes: Or when you're with your friends.
Alan: Remember that your friends are always here for you.
Annalyn: Thanks Alan. Thanks Wes.
Alan: Bring it in.
Antonio: Just echoing some of the comments and the big feelings that this is giving us all in the chat window. I also want to shout out two great suggestions that were shared by some of our peers. The first was by Lilly saying that, sharing the video with teachers so they can show it to students in the morning or message or during carpet time is great. You can encourage students and the families and staff to talk to each other about emotions and about how different we look, but how we are all special on the inside and out. Kimberly Smith adding to that, I'm always looking for ways to provide parent trainings to our families that address issues for their children with promotes resilience and engagement. Thank you all for being able to thread these things into the work that you are doing.
I will also mention that if you're not quite sure of the best ways to use this, sometimes you don't necessarily need a direct goal. In the ways that I've been able to build professional development, I've often watched videos like this twice. The first time, just to get people to look at it, to react to it, to process out loud their feelings and their noticing.
Then sometimes, watching it a second time in professional learning communities to think about how it can be used to build out a little bit more a deeper issue connected to identity or tactics to build up standards and equity. You can really use it in whatever way it works for you. There's a couple of different fun ways and creative opportunities with videos like this and all those other ones on the right side of your screen give you a sense in music videos in different activities like "Spanish Is My Superpower" and in places where children can see Muppets and their Muppet friends modeling collaboration, like "Ji-Young and Tamir Build a Robo Plane." Community happens when people recognize the strengths of others.
In addition to those videos, we have featuring Muppet friends working to celebrate who they are on the inside and out. We've also created a documentary style family portrait from a few different families across the United States. It was our hope in developing these that every adult exploring these resources could see and present a wide variety of perspectives in identities, cultures, customs and attributes that make each family unique.
In our documentary focusing on the Lees, we explore issues of respect, while understanding and thinking a little bit more about the differences and understandings and appreciations of race as components of identity that have changed from generation to generation. With our documentary The Preston Foster Ogletrees, we celebrate Black joy with twins Enrique and Dre as they show us what it means to build a strong, safe family with a place to be. With the Maranas, we explore the ways that parents Sally and Chris address colorism in their home and the social assumptions as to skin color that they're bravely addressing.
As allies working to grow young white children aware of their identity and privilege, the Christoffersons' documentary details the ways that they're actively working to create a world free of racism that their children can play a role in. In our last documentary featuring the Clutes, we meet a traditional Mohawk family from the Aquinas territory in northern New York. In that video, they talk about respect, stereotypes, fairness, justice, and resilience in direct age-appropriate ways.
Now we don't have time to watch all of these videos but we're going to take a few minutes now to watch one based on your level of interest. Knowing now a little bit more about the backstories of each of those different stories, the families, and what we've tried to put in them, we're going to put a poll up to see which one you'd like to watch together.
Friends, we have already half of the people in today's conversation have joined and let us know the answer. We have maybe 15 more seconds. Let's put it up before we actually shift and then select the one that we'll watch together.
All right, you all, a couple more seconds. We have 65% participation. Let's see if we get it up a little bit more to make sure that we have the best guess and a preference to see which video we can share and look at as a team.
All right. Let's go ahead and end the poll and see where we land. All right friends, so it looks like overwhelmingly, we're going to lead into the video celebrating Black joy with the Preston Foster Ogletrees. Thanks so much for sharing. Let's take a look and watch these videos together.
As a reminder, you can access all of these resources connected to that on our page from ssic.org. I'll show you once more how to get to it. Just by clicking ssic.org, you'll go to our main banner page that welcomes you into the digital platform that is free with resources for English and Spanish. We'll go down to the topic page on racial justice for R. Scroll all the way down.
Because we don't have time, we have experts on this call to know what you're looking for. We're going to click over to Type. We're going to select video and all those different videos that I was just showing popped up. But because we've spent a lot of time talking about those focusing on the Muppets, we're going to take a look at these bottom five, specifically targeting those of real people and real families, and specifically the Preston Foster Ogletrees.
Now again, the big idea is at the top, there's the option to save this, to upload it into your desktop, or to print it out. Then a breakdown of things that you can do as you watch the video, after you watch the video, and questions to guide the ways you might want to use the video with children, or perhaps sharing it with families outside of your learning space. Let's watch the video and see what comes up for you.
Lauren: If you had to summarize our family, it would be that we're big. We have big personalities. We have big lives.
Henry: Nothing can just be normal. It has to be extra.
Jack: We are not one thing, we are all the things.
Henry: My name is Henry and people call me Henny.
Dreece: My name is Dreece and some people call me Drecy.
Lauren: I'm Lauren. Some people around here call me mom. This is Jack. This is stepdad.
Lauren: We're a blended family, which is really special. We have some other members in the house. [Music]
Jack: The oldest, my son, Trey and their baby sister Lucien.
Lauren: What does it mean to be Black for our family?
Dreece: Black is beautiful. Black power and be proud of who you are.
Lauren: What's special to you?
Henry: It's me.
Lauren: It's you?
Lauren: What is that answer?
Henry: It's you? What does that mean?
Henry: It means, it's on me. It's never going to change.
Lauren: It's on you. It's never going to change.
Henry: Some people don't have the same skin like me, and that's OK because everyone's different.
Jack: Exactly. I love that.
Lauren: It makes you different. Yeah.
Jack: Everyone's different.
Lauren: Sharing the nuances and the differences about other cultures creates an empathy, creates an understanding. All of us come from such unique cultures and different recipes and different stories and different histories. I think it is a parent's responsibility to get to know what's going on in other cultures.
I remember the boys were in kindergarten, and they came home with some art. They're showing me their family portrait, and there is my face that is like beige very, very, very beige. They're like, there's me, I'm Black. There's you, you're White. I was like, I'm not White, baby.
I had to really explain to them what Blackness looks like, and that we really do come in all shades and colors. The crayon box represents that. You have everything from dark, dark, dark Brown all the way to the fair shades of skin, and that that's all Black, and that's all beautiful. That was kindergarten. Now as 10-year-olds, they are very aware of their Blackness.
Dreece: I take such good care of my hair because I think it makes it look good. I really love my hair texture.
Henry: Yeah, I like soft. Push it back in. Push it back in more.
Lauren: There is always that moment where we're sitting together at the table, and we're pausing. We're reflecting on the day and we're listening to each other. There's no TV. There's no radio.
Jack: There's no phones.
Lauren: Those are like my favorite moment.
Jack: It's very easy to get caught up. But having that ritual really helps us center all of us. My role is to ensure that we do that.
Lauren: Henry, what do you love most about our family?
Henry: That we take care of ourselves, and we will love each other no matter what, unconditional love.
Lauren: Unconditional love. My mom raised me to be very outspoken. That helped to kind of inform how I am as a parent. What is racism to you?
Henry: Racism is when someone treats someone worse.
Dreece: Based on the skin color.
Henry: Skin color.
Lauren: There are moments on the news that kind of prompt conversations, and it's perfect. That help you guys sometimes when we talk about things together as a family?
Dreece: Yeah. I talked about it, and I almost cried.
Lauren: It's OK to express those feelings. It's OK to express those emotions. But you're not dealing with it alone.
Lauren: The boys see me cry. They see Jack cry. We have to show them. You don't keep your feelings all bottled up.
Dreece: It made me sad. When I saw Jack shed a tear, that made me more sad because I get sad when people cry. Also, I felt his pain because he just seeing another Black man killed.
Jack: We have that discussion with the boys around, what does it mean to be Black in America today? What does it mean for you as a young Black male? A lot of White households may not be having these same conversations around your interaction with police as a 10-year-old. We preach to them around how they behave, how they engage. It's really around politeness, kindness, respect.
Henry: I feel like everybody should be kind. Everybody should be nice to the people who are not nice to you. Just have a little bit of empathy for them to see where they're coming from.
Lauren: Wow! I think that kindness is activism. That's always been my belief.
Jack: Exactly. Use that hands for the greats like Josephine Baker.
Lauren: If I had to give a parent tips, it would be that we're celebrating our differences. Oftentimes, we hear like, Oh we're all the same.
Jack: We're not the same.
Lauren: You have to be able to celebrate and understand your differences.
Jack: I get a hug too. I love hugs.
Lauren: As parents, we're responsible for the environment that we create in this household.
Jack: Honestly, what I really appreciate about Lauren and her parenting style is her creativity.
Lauren: Boom boom.
Lauren: You're great.
All: Boom boom boom.
All: Boom boom boom boom boom.
All: Boom boom.
All: Boom boom boom.
Lauren: For us, self-care looks like fun. We try to create so much fun, such a fun atmosphere in this house that they do feel like they're actually missing something. I think that everybody kind of needs to have a happy kit. Things that you can quickly turn to that can just instantly change the energy. For our household, it's music, so dance parties are a regular thing. Definitely had a couple of mental health days in the more recent times.
Jack: At any point, they're given a few mental health days where they can just raise your hand and say, I'm not feeling it today. The only requirement I think is we asked them. Is there anything that you want to share around why you need it? To open up a space for them to talk.
Lauren: Going outside, it's so important. They can get some fresh air. I mean, that changes everything. Then sometimes, just waking up and going for a walk.
Being Black and White, I celebrate my Blackness so much is how dynamic that is. You could be a professional skateboarder. You can be a chess player. You can be a gamer. You can be into anime.
Black is everything. There's a more hopeful feeling for the children's future than I think ever before. I think in raising Lucien, the hope is that by the time she is aware that things hopefully are different.
OK, so what do we think it's going to take for the world to be different?
Dreece: Kindness, love, and appreciation.
Lauren: Kindness, love, and appreciation.
Antonio: We recognize that is a long video. But as you've all reflected in the notes, it is worth watching. All of our documentaries from the very perspectives, identities, ethnicities, cultures, and unique special strengths that families show, is what we've tried to showcase in these videos. You can see we've tried to push this idea of giving other families, other adults, and other children very concrete strategies that they can use to reflect who they are, and to think about what happens when that's not fully seen or recognized in the light. We hope that definitely came through in this conversation.
What I will say to that and all this wealth of other videos that we have, is that the Giant song, which you can see right here, it says video Giant, is a breakdown of a song that is a wink to an old one that we did in the late 60s with Jesse Jackson and some of that same back beat and back lyrics. But we've been able to update it to more recent times with our Muppets and some what we call as b-roll cuts from some of those different families. Definitely worth watching if you have time a little bit later on today or to start or end the day with students in your programs and in your social circles of care.
The videos that we've talked through today and shown highlight the unique strengths and skills families offer, as well as their individual identities, cultures, customs, and attributes. These videos utilize the same strength-based approaches described in the Head Start Parent and Family Community Engagement Framework to create trusting, goal-oriented relationships with families to promote positive enduring outcomes for children and families. You can utilize the many resources developed by the National Center on Parent, Community, and Family Engagement together with our racial justice assets to recognize and honor families that support positive parent-child relationships that provide the foundation for children's learning.
I'm just noting now that all of those great resources reflected from our page on racial justice, we've been able to sort of gently bucket into subtopics. All of the great information is there. We haven't hidden it. We haven't put different or new things in different places. We've just grouped it so that outside of finding it down that library of all of those different comprehensive resources, you can see four different targeted ways to see it reflected.
One is specifically about dealing with racism. The second bucket is the idea of community diversity and extending what that identity and collection of identities mean. The third, if I'm going around in a circle clockwise is racial justice for military families that are in POSs in different parts of both the world and the United States, so thinking about how building community looks slightly different there. Then talking about races just sort of depending on where you are in this journey and in conversations with others that you build community with. A place that you can go to get resources to help kids begin to think about and talk about race.
Friends, in these last five minutes, I'm just going to summarize what we've talked about, and hopefully answer any questions you may have. As we wind down today's conversation, the second in Sesame Street and Communities conversations with you about featuring racial justice resources from our digital platform, we've taken a look last week at the storybooks and workshops that are reflected in the things that we have from ssic.org. Then we've also taken a little bit deeper look that I've color-coded in dark blue in those three interactive games, "I Am Me," "Let's Talk About Race," and "The Rock Garden."
We've also now included a wealth of different videos that we can use to again begin those conversations with children and their families, with more than two-thirds of them being what we call is furry-facing a lot more Muppets, a lot more of our newer Muppets. But we have quite a few as you saw in these last eight minutes that are specifically about unique individual families and how they understand culture, identity, and ethnicity.
We know that you're getting a lot of information connected to how to talk about these things and the best ways to approach them in a way that makes you feel calm, collected, and excited, and understand that you can entrust those same attributes to the children and the families that you work with. One thing that I might suggest is thinking about just first going back to explore ssic.org. When you click into it and explore racial justices as the topic page, you cannot only look back into all of the places that we've gone through today and last week but explore even more resources that we've dug into and that we will continue to in future weeks.
You might also want to consider making a profile. When you make a profile, you create your own library of resources, customized to meet your needs. As you explore not only that racial justice topic page but others that might meet your need, you can just simply start a topic or a resource you like, and it goes straight to your library.
Then finally, find just one resource that fits. I named at the beginning of this conversation that it might be worth thinking about a specific child or family that you work with to think about how to embed these resources into the play and the work that you're already doing with them. You can now think about the children, the parents, and other providers you may be using these assets with and the ways they like to learn. While one child may understand a lesson through an interactive game, another may use a song or a music video to remember the right way to think about how to ask for help or to talk about the feelings. Now you know these resources, you know where they live, and you know how to get them into the hands of people that might want to use them as well.
As we close out today's conversation, a gentle reminder that we'll come back together for one more hour next Thursday to talk about our two last assets, articles, and printables. These are much more for work that you can do in the moment with children, and then also that you can share with the adults and parents and families that they go home to as you build bridges in these conversations. With that, I'm going to go ahead and stop talking, open it up for any questions or answers, and pass it back to Nydia.
Nydia: Thank you so much once again to Antonio. I think we managed to get to all of the questions that we had both in the chat or in the Q&A. We just want to say thank you again, Antonio, for these very heartwarming and very important resources. It's safe to say that it gave us all the feels. If you have any more questions, you can go to MyPeer or write to email@example.com.
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En este seminario web, aprenda cómo reunir a las familias y generar un sentido sólido de comunidad. Descubra maneras de fomentar conexiones que mejoren el bienestar de la comunidad y contribuyan a mejores resultados para los niños. Este seminario web se transmitió el 8 de septiembre de 2022 (video en inglés).