Because yesterday marked the 12th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, I’m curious to hear from teachers to learn what they do on the anniversary and how they teach students about that day.
One of the challenges of teaching 9/11 to students today is many kids were very young if they were alive at all. This piece talks about that and how it can be difficult for educators.
Here’s a look at how those in Lower Manhattan teach children about Sept 11. It also shows how schools in the area teach students about what happened just blocks away. Here’s an excerpt:
Elementary schools next to the Freedom Tower discuss September 11th with students, every year, in the first few weeks of school, tailoring their focus for each classroom, said Catherine Park, a mom of a kindergarten and fifth-grade student at PS 234 in Tribeca. It was one of the schools evacuated that morning, she says, so educators are quite attuned to students’ concerns about safety.
And according to Park, after they discuss September 11th, the teacher sends a note or email telling parents “how it went” and what kinds of questions students asked, so parents can continue the dialogue at home.
“You have to remember, for many of these kids,” Park points out, “Ground Zero was always this big construction site near their school and park. They don’t understand that there were two towers there and it wasn’t always a sad place.”
You might also remember President George W. Bush was in a classroom on the morning of Sept. 11 when he learned of the attacks. He was reading to a group of young children. You can learn more about that at Alexander Russo’s “9/11′s Education-Related Moments” post.
So my question to teachers is: how do you teach 9/11? Parents, also chime in, especially those with young kids. How do you talk about this?