Help me give my students learning materials (puzzles, books, block area figures, & music) that celebrate each child, encourage the children to imagine exciting futures, & affirm the value of our diverse experiences, cultures, connections, & contributions!
I teach a racially and ethnically diverse group of students. This year, a quarter of us are immigrants, some of whose families entered the United States as refugees. We include Black, white, and multi-racial children from Muslim, Hindu, and Christian families and speak four different languages. Several of us have identified special needs, and all of us live in low-income households.
My students come to school, often for the first time, full of energy, enthusiasm, and, sometimes, apprehension; they deserve an inviting learning environment which reflects our own diversity and that of the world around us, an environment which affirms and celebrates the children's unique contributions to our classroom community and helps to prepare them for full and active citizenship in the larger world.
“No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy," declared former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. "Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth." My goal each year is to foster in my classroom the development of an equitable, supportive community within which students' needs are met, their voices heard, and their individual strengths and unique contributions recognized, nurtured, and celebrated as integral to the life of the community. I expect that, as they mature, my students will become active citizens of larger communities: global citizens who value diversity, demand equity for all, and feel confident in their abilities to influence the world around them.
An inclusive environment--including learning materials which reflect the diversity among my students and introduce them to the richer variety of the world beyond their experience--forms the foundation upon which all other elements of an equitable classroom community rest.
Books that introduce children to other languages; puzzles depicting a variety of family configurations and community helpers in a range of skin colors; music of different cultures; and block area figures with a range of special needs will fill identified gaps in our anti-bias curricular materials and will help me set my students' feet on the exciting road to global citizenship!
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