Registration Open for Story Starters

With book bans and anti-”woke” curriculum revision dominating the news, one local nonprofit is renewing its commitment to anti-racist
education for young children. Since 2017, Story Starters has worked to equip families and educators with strategies to
develop young children’s anti-racist values and ability to disrupt racism in their daily lives.

Now through September 17, families can register for an eight-week program this fall that uses children’s literature to initiate and deepen in-home conversations about race and racism.

“We focus on the three- to eight-year-old age range, because it’s a critical developmental window where trusted adults can have the most impact on kids’ attitudes about race,” says Story Starters Director Ellie Axe. “The research has shown that racial bias can develop in children as young as three, but the good news is it also shows that open dialogue between kids and adults can disrupt that bias and help kids feel more positively about all identities, including their own.”

Families enrolled in Story Starters’ Family Conversations program receive a bundle of books and parent guides full of research and resources to enhance their understanding of how and why to talk to their kids about race. The program includes family events as well as workshops for the adult participants. To date, nearly 400 families nationwide have participated in in-person and virtual Story Starters programming.

“Story Starters has given me so much confidence and awareness to have meaningful conversations about race and racism with my children,” said Sarah Banister, a Needham resident who recently participated in the program with her two children. “What was great was how accepted and supported I felt by the leaders of the program and the other participants in my learning process. And now I find myself referring back to the program materials as I continue to seek out learning opportunities about how to have these tough conversations.”

“We’ve had families tell us how joyful and hopeful it is to see their kids absorb this learning and to connect with other families in the program” said Axe. “We’re also excited to begin offering alumni programming where it feels like we’re building on the connections we’ve made over the past five years.”

Story Starters kicks off its next cohort on October 1 and registration closes September 17.

For information on upcoming family programs, visit story-starters.org.

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