Lab School letter to families in response to George Floyd murder

Hello Lab School families,

As a school community, we are heartbroken by the brutality that came at the hands of several Minneapolis police to George Floyd and we know that many in our community are also grieving. We also know that many of our families live in the neighborhood where George was killed and where protests and riots have followed. This has been a difficult week and we are all still processing how to move through this with purpose and conviction to make the world a better place for everyone. 

Young children may have questions around the devastating murder in Minneapolis and protests and rioting throughout the Twin Cities. It can be difficult to talk to children about these big issues.  There are four Anti-Bias Educational Goals by Louise Derman-Sparks that we believe are essential in our school’s philosophy and action: 

  1. Nurture each child’s construction of a knowledgeable, confident self-concept and group identity; 
  2. Promote each child’s comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from diverse backgrounds; 
  3. Foster each child’s critical thinking about bias; and 
  4. Cultivate each child’s ability to stand up for themselves and for others in the face of bias.  

We also wanted to share a statement from the Early Childhood Education program, of which the Lab School is a unit: 

“The Early Childhood Education program is committed to training educators who build strong relationships, embrace diversity, value full inclusion, and work to eliminate structural inequities that limit children’s educational opportunities. Following the tragic killing of George Floyd and in a deeply rooted responsibility to young children and their families, the Early Childhood Education program would like to share our commitment to the following actions:

  1. To increase our ongoing education and advocacy work to decrease suspensions and expulsions and zero-tolerance policies which disproportionately impact Black children.
  2. To critically examine the curriculum, assessment, and overall practices of the Early Childhood Education program to ensure that all coursework identifies and addresses the goals of anti-bias and anti-racist education: identity, diversity, justice, and activism.
  3. To engage in ongoing self-study, informed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s position statement for advancing equity in Early Childhood Education
  4. To continue to identify and address the ways in which communities of color and American Indians have been underserved by the Early Care and Education system and to advocate for systemic change.”

The Early Childhood Education program has gathered a list of resources to assist in addressing the stress and trauma children are experiencing during this challenging time.  Please use any that you find helpful. A Lab School parent also published a powerful letter this week about talking to her children about race and justice for George Floyd.  

We hope that you are able to stay safe, work towards justice, and find peace in your community.  Please reach out to us if you need anything or would like to share other resources.  

The Lab School Staff