June is Pride month! As educators, we know how necessary it is to create inclusive and welcoming environments that reflect and support the diversity amongst the families and communities we serve.
Here are 5 suggestions to consider in your teaching practice when cultivating an inclusive and welcoming environment for your students and families:
Don’t Just Celebrate in June
Although Pride is celebrated worldwide in June, discussing family dynamics, gender, and who people love can and should be talked about year round.
Take Inventory of your Classroom
Take a look at the books you read and have available – the dolls in the dramatics center, the photos you have on your walls, etc. Are these items diverse in the family makeup in your center? Families come in all shapes and sizes and the materials and resources you provide to your students play an important role in the person they become. Every now and then take a look around your classroom and consider life from your children’s shoes – do the toys and resources look like them? Do they represent our diverse world population?
Provide Educational Resources to Families
Working with parents is essential in early childhood education. Just like you would send home information on toilet training, sending home information and discussing the importance of Pride and the LGBTQ community is just as important.
Consider Your Language
I’m sure we’re all guilty of using the phrase “hey guys!” or assuming someone’s gender “go play with that little boy over there!” However, we should be mindful of this language as it can exclude certain gender groups. Instead of using “Hey guys!” Consider using “Hey friends!” or, “Hey everyone!” This is a more inclusive term when we’re not entirely sure of someone’s pronouns.
Check your Own Bias
We can do all of these things mentioned above and still have our own biases. It’s important as individuals that we check our blind spots. Are we really supporting the LGBTQ community by teaching young children about Pride when we have a bias of our own? To really support the community we must take inventory of our own practices and biases consistently.
We want to know in the comments below, how do you celebrate pride in your classroom?