Social Justice Begins with Me (formerly We’re Erasing Prejudice for Good) is a new literature-based curriculum resource released at ETFO’s fall leadership conference. The release occurred at a crucial time: this fall incidents of bullying and youth suicides have received high-profile media attention. This resource will help educators deliver messages of inclusion, diversity, and create safe and welcoming environments. It allows educators to implement the ministry’s Equity and Inclusion Strategy, described in ministry documents as “an overarching policy that supports a positive school environment where diversity is respected; systemic barriers and biases are identified and removed so that whatever their personal circumstances, all students can achieve at their highest potential.” The children’s literature that forms the basis for Social Justice Begins with Me provides an ideal entry point for developing inclusive classrooms. The resource also promotes the teaching of critical thinking and advocacy skills. As well, it allows students to see themselves and their stories reflected in the curriculum. Five separate documents make up the kit: one each for Primary, Junior, and Intermediate grades; a Teacher Resource Guide; and a copy of the ETFO resource, More Than a Play. The lessons for each division are organized into 10 monthly themes that are linked to the Ontario curriculum expectations. The inclusion of More Than a Play helps accomplish the goal of depicting the diverse realities of Ontario students.
The Teacher Resource contains planners, reproducibles, assessment strategies and tools, reflective questions for equity seeking teachers, strategies for supportive administrators, and hyperlinks to websites (in the CD version). It also has lists of books, Aboriginal cultural organizations, museums, and year-round resources and activities, as well as a section on school and community engagement. Here are some sample lesson plans: The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, The Aboriginal Alphabet For Children, and A Shelter In Our Car.
Social Justice Begins with Me is currently available for sale though shopETFO; shopETFO@etfo.org. The $45 CD includes hyperlinks to websites. The $65 suitcase contains a print version of each document. The complete resource kit consists of five books:
Primary (Early Years to Grades 3),
Junior (Grades 4 to 6),
Intermediate (Grades 7 to 8),
Each of the above have lessons by grade level.
Teacher Resource Guide (all grades),
More Than a Play.