Published on April 14, 2016 | by Madison Parker Photography by Madison Parker0
Social Justice finds its TV Audience
Islamophobia, sexual abuse and discrimination are sensitive topics that are often dismissed and avoided. Now a University of Guelph-Humber student group is helping parents and children learn how to talk about these issues. And the early childhood studies team is taking it on in a fun and educational way on local television.
Their three-minute segment, Play Matters, is part of a weekly television show called Insight: Towards Social Justice on Rogers TV in Peel Region.
Creator and community producer of Insight, Ranjit Khatkur, said that she is impressed with what the ECS staff and students are doing at the University of Guelph-Humber.
“It’s an opportunity for students to have something that’s tangible, something that’s meaningful,” she said. “I really feel that there’s a gap in capturing courageous conversations on social justice.”
Living with disabilities, mental health and assault are just a few of the conversations the show intends to touch on. Real problems that not only affect adults, but children as well.
Play Matters teaches families that play is necessary to children’s knowledge and development. “It’s about reaching out to people who haven’t considered play is important. We’re empowering the community, we’re talking about different issues,” said Khatkur.
The show features two students per episode who demonstrate an activity for parents and their children, focusing on a social justice issue.
Fourth year ECS student Rachel Lamarra is one of the eight team members and has worked on the script and activities. She appears in three of the episodes. She said it was fun filming in the Rogers studio and trying something new. “I had never been on TV. I mean who has? So I enjoyed that and letting loose.”
Lamarra said that play is a chance for children to understand what’s going on in their world. “I really want families to know there are ways to cope with a lot of difficulties or struggles that children often grow up with. There’s ways in order for children to have fun and play, but also a chance for parents to bond with their child,” she said.
Assistant program head of ECS, Elena Merenda, said that they’re trying to get parents to understand that children learn best through play and there’s so much more to learning than filling out a worksheet. The population of Peel consists of many refugees and immigrants, “So for them paper and pen is the belief of how children learn,” she said.
Merenda said it was important that students from all years of the program to participate. “We wanted to make sure we had a diverse group of students because we are talking about social justice,” she said.
Khatkur and the ECS program hopes that the segments will inspire parents to come to their Play Matters event at Khalsa Community School on April 23rd. It will feature the activities from all of the episodes.
“Social Justice, in time, is evolving and when you’re committed to social justice, it never stops,” said Khatkur.
The full list of topics for the program can be found on the Facebook page, Towards Social Justice.
The show will air until July 11th on Rogers TV, every Monday at 7 p.m. Check Roger’s TV for local listings. It will also be available on the official Rogers TV YouTube channel.