Talking with children and young people about race and racism

Explore our free race, racism, and anti-racism teaching resources. Our guides will give you confidence in talking to children and young people about race and racism in schools and developing their understanding and awareness.

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Guidance and activities
Kindness, Humanitarianism and the Red Cross

This resource is designed to teach about race and to help young people understand why racism is an important topic to learn about. Our free resource helps teachers and parents create a safe space in which children and young people feel comfortable discussing and asking questions about race and racism.

Through our resources, we aim to help learners become more empathetic and resilient through kindness and mutual respect. It provides information to help educators prepare for a conversation and introduce the topic to children and young people learning about race and racism.

It also includes several activities and analogies to help children and young people explore and discuss the topic. There are separate documents for children (ages 3 to 11) and young people (ages 11 to 18).

Learning objectives  

Learners will:  

  • discuss and ask questions about racism in an open and safe environment
  • use techniques like active listening to help develop understanding 
  • explore what a stereotype is and start to challenge assumptions we hear and see in the media  
  • celebrate others’ differences and similarities  
  • be empowered to create an anti-racist environment.  

Discussing racism in teaching: resource overview  

This provides an overview of what to expect from the resource. There are differentiated activities for primary and secondary learners.  

1. Guidance: preparation  

Advice for teachers and parents on how to prepare for and approach the subject. Have the confidence to talk to children and young people about race and racism, including how to raise the topic, create a safe space for discussion, and respond to questions.  

2. Creating an anti-racist environment: taking action  

Explore ways in which children and young people can be an active ally with friends and family. Consider how it would feel to be supported.   

3. Active listening: listening activity  

Use this activity to set out an environment of active listening where people can share safely, and others listen and reflect on what is said.  

4. Challenging stereotypes: discussion activity 

Provide an opportunity to discuss what we mean by stereotypes and challenge some thoughts learners might have.   

5. In my community: debate activity 

Encourage learners to think about discrimination and equality in their local community and environment with this walking debate. 

6. Video activity 

Video activities for different ages exploring race and racism. For children, discover the importance of loving your skin. For young people, think about discrimination against key workers. 

7. Celebrating similarities and differences: discussion activity  

Explore the traits that make us who we are, and what do we have in common with others. Discuss a series of statements about similarities and differences.  

8. Reflection  

Reflect on why racism is important to learn about and make a plan of action with your children and young people and work on it together.

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This resource was created in June 2020 by the British Red Cross. 

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Children in a classroom raise their hands.