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Make Room for Each and Every Child – From Montgomery to Markers

As this post goes live, we mark 60 years since the historic moment when Rosa Parks refused to move from her seat on a public bus for a white passenger.  While this was not the first time this situation unfolded in Montgomery, it was the last straw for many who were upset with hurtful laws and practices which marginalized so many Americans solely based on the color of their skin.

In recognition of that historic day, we want to invite you to learn a little more about Rosa Parks.  There are many resources online and in the local library, but we settled on these two because of the interesting information they shared.  On their website, Scholastic has devoted space to Ms. Parks’ responses to school children’s questions about her life and work.  Justin Taylor, with The Washington Post, wrote about five common myths about Rosa Parks.

Next month, we are going to post some ideas about addressing diversity in the classroom, and we would love your help!  If you can recommend a website for parents/teachers, a book to share with children or another type of resource or activity, please email your idea to Jason Jacobs, Leap Training Manager.  If you want to share your name, town and child care program, we’ll be sure to give you credit for the idea!

To help get you started on thinking about simple classroom strategies for diversity, we’ll share one idea for the art area in your classroom:

Take a look at your art supplies and ask yourself this question, “Can the children in my classroom find their skin color here?”  Over the years, I have watched young children dig through art supplies – searching, with great intent, for the marker, crayon, clay or paper that matches their skin color.   In the end, some will settle for a different color and be content with their second choice, but other children can feel frustrated and discouraged that they can’t make their art come to life in the way they envision it.

Whether you’ve witnessed this scenario play out in your classroom or not, don’t underestimate the power of the sense of belonging that you have the power to create.  The young child that finds themselves in the dramatic play area, bookshelves and, yes, art bins, finds comfort in the understanding that they belong in your classroom.  And, if you have a child who knows they belong in your room, you have a child who trusts you and is ready and eager to contribute to the learning community in great ways!

Have a great day and don’t forget to share your diversity resource ideas with us!

post by: Jason Jacobs
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