It is important to know that learning about diversity, equity and inclusion is not something that happens at specific times of the year – it happens all year! Though we are taking special time to emphasize Black Lives Matter Week in Schools and Black History Month, the majority of learning happens in response to children’s questions, statements, observations and misconceptions.
A recent example is when a child stated that two of their friends must be brother and sister because their skin looks the same. This was the perfect opportunity to discuss skin color similarities and differences, as well as challenge this hypothesis by asking more questions and looking a little more closely at each other.
By listening to children, we can naturally discover the way they are thinking about the diversity of our community and the ways they are thinking about race, gender rules, or family structure. As adults, it is our responsibility to take advantage of these learning opportunities whenever they occur. Talking about differences in an informative and matter-of-fact way is how we help children understand and appreciate the diversity that exists in their world.
This week we joined our entire school, as well as schools around the country, to observe Black Lives Matter in Schools Week. We began by looking at the 13 Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles posters in the hall, focusing on Empathy and Diversity this week. The posters are designed for preschoolers to understand.
We are also reading books and having discussions that help us explore those ideas. We took part in the all school assembly by singing What Can One Little Person Do with our sixth grade buddies, and we will be adding pictures and words to a bulletin board with the same title. We looked at the Periodic Table of Black History located on the first floor, and are planning to discuss famous people that preschoolers can connect with – black astronauts, scientists, singers, athletes, activists, and a president. We also enjoyed storytellers D. Kucha Brownlee & Baba Tony on Thursday!