Teaching Social Justice in the Primary Classroom

When students learn about social justice at an early age, they are more likely to apply a lens of social justice to their interactions with
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About This Strategy

This strategy will support teachers as they incorporate elements of social justice into their instruction.  Implementing the steps outlined in this strategy will help teachers develop lessons that allow students to explore bias and social justice. Teachers can use literature, activities, and discussions to engage students in the practice of accepting and appreciating diversity in the classroom and in the their communities.

Implementation Steps

  1. Start by teaching students the basic principle of justice: fair and unfair.  Teaching Tolerance has a lesson to help you start. See the vocabulary bank attached to the Fair and Unfair lesson in the resource section.

  2. Use literature to give concrete examples of what fairness and justice are.  

  3. Once students understand basic concepts, bring in grade-appropriate current events. 

  4. Facilitate discussions with students that require them to think of ways they can be more accepting of others.  Have them to list ways they can help someone else.

    • For example:

      • Play with a new person during recess.

      • Talk to two different people during lunch.  

Coach Tips

Monica Washington
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

Remember that teaching students about bias and social justice will never be completed by one activity or book.  It is definitely an ongoing process. If you regularly block time for students to consider issues, question, and have discussions, they will be more likely to build a deeper understanding of diversity and their role in social justice.

Additional Resources