Peace & Justice
The Joy of Developing Racial Literacy & Intercultural Competence In Children - The Hues of You Framework
Welcome to a transformative journey of fostering racial literacy and cultural competence in children. As a parent, educator, author, and founder of the learning platform, Brownicity, I want to introduce you to a framework and an activity book – both are tangible tools for engaging, hands-on experiences that nourish curiosity, critical thinking, and creative expression; and both are designed to empower educators, caregivers, and leaders to help children build a more inclusive and understanding future for themselves.
Embracing a Proactive Approach in Education
In the evolving landscape of education, fostering inclusive learning environments is imperative, ensuring every student feels a profound sense of belonging. However, a critical question arises: why do we often wait until incidents of racism or cultural incompetence arise before addressing the lack of understanding?
Unveiling the Importance of Early Conversations
Research consistently emphasizes the significance of open, age-appropriate discussions in shaping positive attitudes, reducing biases, and fostering inclusivity in children. By engaging in conversations with sensitivity and cultural competence, parents and educators not only help children comprehend their observations but also nurture qualities like self-awareness and self-esteem. Empowered with such understanding, children can confront unfairness, discrimination, and prejudice.
Proactive Development of Racial Literacy and Cultural Competence
Instead of avoiding or delaying the learning process around racial literacy and cultural competence, the call is to proactively and strategically develop these essential skills. The objective is clear: equip students with the language to question their surroundings, help them navigate complex systems, and create an environment where they can cultivate the skills needed to shape a better world.
The Hues of You Framework: A Guiding Light
The Hues of You Framework emerges as a thoughtful approach, founded on five building blocks known as the 5 C's—Cultivate Curiosity, Connect with Common Humanity, Celebrate Differences, Comprehend Complex Systems, and Champion Change through Activism. Diverging from overwhelming approaches, this framework aligns with the natural learning process of children. It advocates for gradual learning and growth, establishing a robust foundation before delving into complex topics like understanding race as a social construct. The ultimate goal is not to build or curate children but to create conditions that enable them to become their authentic selves.
Unpacking the 5 C's of the Hues of You Framework
- Cultivate Curiosity: Sparking wonder and personal growth, curiosity becomes a compass driving children to turn questions into quests
- Connect with Common Humanity: Teaching children to recognize and embrace shared humanity, finding common ground with others.
- Celebrate Differences: Helping children see and value differences in themselves and others, emphasizing the importance of embracing uniqueness.
- Comprehend Complex Systems: Children earn to identify and navigate the complex systems around them, enabling them to see the big picture.
- Champion Change through Activism: Fostering activism, sustaining momentum, and building the capacity to create change, encouraging interactions that transcend borders.
Practical Application: From Theory to Practice
Crafted with a deep understanding of how children (and adults) learn best, the HUES OF YOU activity book aligns seamlessly with the ethos of the Hues of You Framework by encouraging curiosity. It fosters a child's natural inclination to ask questions and explore new ideas, making the learning process a joyous and engaging journey. The activity book is a tool designed to lay the foundation for developing racial literacy and cultural competence in children.
Recognizing the importance of play in cognitive and social development, the HUES OF YOU activity book incorporates wonder and imaginative play to impart crucial skills and concepts. Hands-on, interactive activities make learning enjoyable and practical, ensuring children stay engaged. The exploration within the book provides countless opportunities for learning about science, biology, and the environment.
Educational "Words to Know" introduces kids to a range of topics, sparking curiosity and encouraging a thirst for understanding. Drawing, storytelling, and creative writing are embraced as tools that foster creativity, self-expression, and enhance language and writing skills. The book emphasizes critical thinking and encourages active adult involvement, where parents and/or teachers can show interest, participate in learning, and provide a structured environment that supports learning. Adaptability to various learning styles—be it visual, auditory, or kinesthetic—is a fundamental aspect of the HUES OF YOU activity book.
The Hues of You Framework and activity book synergistically cultivate racial literacy and cultural competence by providing a gradual, child-centric approach that incorporates interactive, hands-on activities, encouraging curiosity, critical thinking, and creative expression to build a foundation for understanding and embracing our multi-hued world.
This week, explore the Hues of You Activity Book with the children and engage in the interactive exercises that align with the 5 C's of the Hues of You Framework.
Lucretia Carter Berry, PhD, is a distinguished author, educator, and speaker, as well as the visionary founder of Brownicity, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering education designed to inspire a culture of true belonging and justice for all. Lucretia is also a valued contributor to incourage.me, sharing her insights and wisdom on topics of faith, resilience, and personal growth. Through her books, Teaching for Justice and Belonging – A Journey for Educators and Parents (2022), Hues of You – An Activity Book for Learning About the Skin You Are In (2022), and What LIES Between Us – Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing (2016), her impactful TED Talk, and her commitment to building just communities, Lucretia encourages meaningful engagement that transcends boundaries, fostering personal development, resilience, and the transformative capacity within each of us.