About Dawn

A new country, a new house, a new phase in life! Working mom to 8-year-old Emily, Dawn will soon be off to Canada to study early childhood education.
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Thanks for saying this out loud. I am struggling with the same kinds of issues with the graduate students I am teaching. Graduate students! Working in inner-city programs in Philadelphia (the city with the second highest murder rate in the US this year)... frustrating all around.


I'm black, and Sophomore year of HS my honors English class was all white. We were studying Shakespeare. Halfway through the term, the white teacher held me after class to tell me that the next play on the syllabus was Othello. First she apologized, and then she told me that if I thought I would be too uncomfortable with the subject matter, she'd pick a different play. I was 15 and I wanted to scream, "Obviously, YOU'RE the one who's uncomfortable," but instead I mumbled something stupid about having always wanted to read Othello, and I hightailed it out of the classroom.

It's adults who have hang-ups about these issues, not kids.


How do you tell them? Print out this post and have them read it. It's pretty insightful, and just might plant the seed that "appropriate" is subjective, and kids get inappropriate in the oddest, and sometimes harshest, of ways.


stop protecting them...you're absolutely right. i tried to "protect" my own son by pretending there was no big white elephant in the room, and it totally backfired. the hardest part is acknowledging that life, and the world, is not perfect; it's not the "fairy tale" existence we had promised ourselves we'd deliver when our kids were in utero. and we can't change that. and that sucks.

anonymous student

I'm one of the students in your class. I just want to say that I agree with you completely on the problems with "appropriate" children's reading material. I find a lot of people in the class have been really unwilling to let go of their preconceived notions of children as "innocent" or "oblivious."
To use a personal example: my father spoke to me a lot about death as a child, and gave me a lot of reading material about it. From the time I was five or six, I knew about death, I had lots of different religious interpretations of it in my head, and consequently, I can't say I ever feared it. Talking and reading about it helped me understand it as something inevitable, but not something necessarily frightening. My father passed away in January '06, and because he had been so open with me about death as a child, I think I dealt with it a LOT better than most would have as an adult.
No one should dictate what children can and can't read. If a child doesn't want to read it, they won't. I wholeheartedly feel that they should be given the opportunity to explore concepts they know about, but perhaps don't have the vocabulary to express.

Okay, that's enough out of me...time to go write my reflections!


Dawn, thank you! You renew my thoughts that talking opening with my step-daugther about things she finds herself in are not inappropriate.


Sesame Street recently released its very first couple of seasons on DVD, and they have been rated "Not suitable for children."

I think we have gone too far . . .

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