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'but I Don't Like Brown Miss...'


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Help!

Last week one of the children in my reception class refused to work with another child because 'I don't like brown'. The second child is of dual heritage (i think that's the politically correct term at the moment!). I spent a long time talking to the first child about skin tones and how everyone had a slightly different skin tone etc etc. Both children ended up working together for part of the afternoon. Unfortunately our school is in a predominatly white area with only 5 dual hertiage children out of a total on 200.

I spoke to the child's parents straight after school and they said the child had come out with remarks like this before. As a school we are very hot on using multicultural texts and resources given the lack of exposure pupils get at school. We are currently using Handa's Surprise in the class.

 

Just wondering if anyone has any advice or ideas of how to approach this tricky issue with reception children. Any books resources you would reccomend? I'm desperate!

Thank you so much all ready,

 

Beth

 

 

P.S Sorry for any spelling/grammar errors- I'm really tired but it's been playing on my mind ever since it happened. Maybe now I can go and sleep!

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Don't worry about this. it is natural for children of this age to just be very open about how they feel about things. You are upset because of the subject rather than the child's honesty. What you have done already sounds great. But i would be open and honest back with the child. Why don't you like brown, think of things that are brown that perhaps the child does like- chocolate? bears? dogs? trees, cake, ... the list is endless. Then talk about being white- what things can we think of that we like/ don't like that are white.

I would then have a circle time and put the black child in the centre and go around the circle with each child saying 'I like '....' because...' only positive comments around- you start, TA also joins in the circle.

I hope this helps- don't worry, children can be so cruel to each other ... when I was in reception my dad had a brain tumor and was in hospital in London having an 18 hr operation, the other kids greeted me one morning with 'isn't your dad dead yet?' ... they were just being honest and open but it does hurt.

My son has aspergers and he talks like this all the time. While out at a fireworks party he said- 'what's the point in this?' why are we watching a load of silly explosions in the air?

I hope this helps

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My nose, your nose by Melanie Walsh is a really nice book for highlighting positive differences, we have used it in nursery and the children enjoyed talking to a friend to find things the same and different eg Fred has blue ayes, Jack has brown eyes but they both have big smiles etc... makes a nice display too if the children use the digital camera to take pictures of pairs of children.

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Thank you. You've both been very reassuring. I'm going to do a circle time like you suggested first think tomorrow. Obviously I don't want to make it more of an issue but I can't just leave it.

 

Thanks guys. I'll let yo know how it goes.

 

Beth

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My 5yr old who has been brought up in a childminding home with positive images and stories since he was born has recently said exactly the same thing whilst engaged in role play with another child and a selection of dolls.

 

"We don't want to play with that one do we because we hate black faces" and he threw the doll on the floor.

 

I was completely taken aback and immediately reminded him of our rules of being kind to people and of including everybody in our play.

 

I do know exactly where his development on this subject went awry.

 

We went on a holiday to South Africa last year and he was left for 2hrs with a young black babysitter who unfortunately didn't speak any English at all. She was kind and he went to her happily, but on our return he was still sobbing in his sleep and had been terrified. He now associates that experience with black faces.

 

I take lots of time to talk about feelings and ad lib a lot when reading stories to include simple themes of human kindness and empathy to encourage his play to be more inclusive.

 

It's parent's evening next week and I will also bring up the subject with his class teacher.

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I like the circle time idea but maybe allow the child to stand in the circle with the other children rather than in the middle. Then go around the rest of the group asking the same question.

I also liked the idea of asking the children what they liked that was a specific colour.

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My daughter has always preferred her 'brown' dolls. She calls them her chocolate babies and they are most definitely her favourites! Children notice these sorts of differences and I think we need to discuss them with children fully. Point out other obvious differences, such as hair and eye colour, and then explore the similarities. :o

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