Fourth grade is an exciting time for children. Full of energy and enthusiasm, developmentally, they love making connections with the bigger world. Our social-emotional learning curriculum helps them to develop empathy and respect for others and to practice articulating their own feelings while listening with appreciation to the feelings of others. These skills are key as they explore issues of identity, equity and social justice in and outside of their own fourth grade classroom.
How can I feel connected and learn from others even when we are different or disagree?
How do power and identity intersect?
How have people been treated badly because of their group identities?
How does my identity impact my obligation to communities around the world?
These and other questions provide the framework with which our 9 and 10 year-olds build their classroom community and delve into a rich multicultural curriculum. Visits to local mosques, churches and temples provide them with opportunities to better understand the commonalities and differences between major world religions. They learn about the legacy of Roger Williams and are moved to act after learning about recent examples of religious intolerance in our state. Immigrants and refugees within the Moses Brown community are welcomed into the fourth grade classroom to share their stories and deepen the students’ understanding of what drives individuals and families to seek new homes and opportunities, today as it has throughout our nation’s history. Pen-pal relationships with fourth graders in Western Kenya push our students to challenge their own stereotypes and recognize the inequity of access to resources based on geography, not ability.
Fourth graders also participate in in multi-age Diversity Workshops three times throughout the year. These workshops are intentional spaces for our students to consider aspects of identity and to examine the impact of those identifiers on themselves and on their peers. Topics evolve from year to year, but recent ones have included discussions about being multiracial, how skin color affects peoples’ lives today, the experiences of transgender children and adults, and about privilege and its role in our lives.Inquire