First, I would like to let you know that the turmoil and terrible events of this week make me long to be with the children and continue our social-emotional curriculum which focuses on diversity, kindness, problem solving, and community, to name a few components. I know how hard you are trying to instill those values through your own example and guidance.
As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I have found it difficult to truly teach about diversity in Maine because there is so little, especially racial diversity, but I am learning about ways that I, as a white person, can do things to help.
Below you will find a position statement by the National Association for the Education of Young Children which can give ideas and guidance. Along with the activities of this week I am including a few picture book titles that I know are great for reading aloud with young children.
We Each Have a Role to Play
MaineAEYC and NAEYC’s core values uphold the dignity and worth of each individual. As NAEYC identifies in the Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education position statement, “Our goal is to nurture a more diverse and inclusive generation of young children who thrive through their experience of equitable learning opportunities in early learning programs.
We aim for each child to “express comfort and joy with human diversity, to increasingly recognize injustice, and to have the will and the skills to act against prejudice. We find ourselves pressing for the same for each adult in our nation today.
Our goals cannot be achieved without recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that provide privilege to some and are unjust to others. That means committing—individually and collectively, again and again—to reflect and grapple with the racism in ourselves, our organizations, and our society. We each have a role to play as early childhood educators, administrators, faculty, students, advocates, and parents. We are each in a position where we can act and address the trauma our children are experiencing at the hands of racism apparent in the corona-virus’ disproportionate impacts, the weaponizing of white privilege in our parks and streets, the death of George Floyd, and police response to protests.” Read NAEYC’s full statement here.
Here are some sites to check out with diversity celebrations:
- EmbraceRace– a Facebook page with links to many good resources and ideas for parents
- goodreads.com – a source for purchasing children’s books about diversity that celebrate our differences
- bookriot.com – a source for purchasing children’s books about diversity that celebrate our differences
And some suggestions of children books about diversity:
- The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
- Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (there’s a YouTube story time read aloud of this book)
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
(if you’d like more suggestions just send me a note)
With loads of love,