Allied Media Conference 2011: All About the Kids Track

Hey y’all! This is Neil. Amariah, Sam, Alejo, and I are all back home from our trip to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference! We have so much to share with you, starting with this post where I’ll talk about what we did at the Kids Track. One of the folks who brought their kids to the childcare at the AMC chatted me up about the process of planning the Kids Track, so I thought I’d write a post about why and how we planned kids programming.

I started getting on conference calls several months ago with representatives from childcare collectives all over the United States to put together the Kids Track. We worked with childcare collectives located in New York, Philadelphia, Austin, the Bay Area, and Chicago. Folks from each collective broke into smaller groups and planned ten workshops just for kids at the AMC–something for every session block!

All of our workshops were built to be fun and informative for the kids, teaching them about social justice issues in ways that were accessible and engaging to them. We started off with an introduction where all the workshop presenters introduced themselves and the kids laid ground rules for how they would treat each other during the week. We also asked kids to think about what would happen if their name was a magic spell. I said that my name would make cupcakes appear!

The kids learned about all sorts of different social justice issues through media and art. Two separate workshops that were incorporated into the Kids Track taught folks how to draw anime characters and how to start doing research that incorporates interviews. The Kids Track also took a field trip to Catherine Ferguson Academy to learn about making seed bombs and the importance of caring for the earth!

I was involved with planning the workshop that met up with the Elders Track for story sharing. We went downstairs to the story sharing room, where five elders from the Elders Track met us to tell us their stories about what home meant to them. The kids all shared their stories in turn and we all found out that we have a lot in common and that home can mean very different things to different people. It was really great to have a workshop where elders, adults, and kids were all spending time together learning from each other!

All of the childcare collectives helped out with childcare at the conference, too. This year we structured it so that kids could go easily between the Kids Track programming and the childcare room in case they needed time to chill out or to just play and interact with other kids.

Altogether, I’d say the Kids Track was pretty awesome! Stay tuned to the website for some more updates about our trip to Detroit.

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