Celebrating Pride in your early childhood classroom blog header

Celebrating Pride in your early childhood classroom

Every year, the month of June represents LGBTQ 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.

In our childcare classrooms, LGBTQ Pride Month is the perfect time to discuss with children LGBTQ people and their struggles to achieve equity and justice. It is an opportunity to learn about important LGBTQ people in history, read books that include LGBTQ people, analyze heterosexism and explore its causes and solutions. It is important not to isolate the exploration of LGBTQ people and culture into only one month of the year but instead continue these practices in your everyday lesson planning.

Here are 5 suggestions to consider in your teaching practice when cultivating an inclusive and welcoming environment for your children and families.

1. Celebrate all year round

Although Pride is celebrated worldwide in June, discussing family dynamics, gender, and who people love can and should be talked about year-round.

2. Take inventory of your classroom

Take a look at the books you read and have available – the toys in the dramatics center, the photos you have on your walls, etc. Are these items diverse? Families come in all shapes and sizes and the materials and resources you provide to your children 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?

As a place to start, check out this list of children’s books to represent the LGBTQ community.

3. 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. GLSEN provides a collection of Key Concepts and Terms “designed to provide a basic understanding of words, phrases, and ideas related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their experiences.”

Additional resources to consider:

4. Consider your language

For young children, family is central to a classroom curriculum. Model using inclusive language for both children and parents when talking about families and gender. It is important for us to know the correct words to use with the children so that they know what to use for themselves. 

I’m sure we’re all guilty of using the phrase “hey guys!” or assuming someone’s gender, for example, “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.

5. 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. This involves doing our own research to make sure that we are educated on the background of Pride celebrations and what they represent.

As an educator, you take on the role of an advocate to advocate for children who cannot speak for themselves. We have to be brave and cannot be afraid. Remember the importance of your role in these children’s lives, the honor you have, and what that brings with it. Allow children to discover who they are in the safe space you create for them. As they learn they can speak up for themselves, that they are valued and matter, we will create a generation of human beings who are loving, kind, supported, and connected to each other. 

We want to know in the comments below, how do you celebrate pride in your classroom?

Kiah Price

Kiah Price is a Social Media Specialist at HiMama. Prior to HiMama she was an Early Childhood Educator in a preschool classroom in Toronto. She is the Jill of all trades at HiMama from dipping her toes in Sales, Customer Success, Operations, and Marketing! She enjoys sweating through spin classes, hot yoga, and biking along the waterfront trails in Toronto. She loves traveling and trying new foods and wines across the globe- 29 countries and counting!

3 comments

  • MRS. CHERIE HOGAN says:

    I have not celebrated PRIDE in my classroom, however I ALWAYS acknowledge, accept and embrace LBGTQ families of children enrolled. I get to know each of them personally by first name and professionally what name their child calls them. I share the names of each parent the child calls them with each staff member to support language, communication, social skills and continuity of care as well as I lead by example with my support of the child and family. I also encourage each family member to let me know how I can best support them, too, they can reach out to me anytime via email and/or phone with a question, concern or that grandma is in town and dropping off that morning. I always get to know the child’s family because as I was growing up, my mom used to say she, my sister and I were “A package deal.” In essence, building a Home-School connection. That’s my approach.

  • Christina C says:

    We have a long, long, long way to go. As a person from the LGBTQ community and working in Child Care for many years I can tell you that I faced HUGE battles with staff/leaders spreading their homophobic views around, for years listened to homophobic comments in my workplace, day in and day out. Checking your own biases is good and appropriate advise. It’s mighty difficult to promote inclusivity for children and families when you carry your own biases to work every day. Check your own biases now, not when it becomes politically correct or “trendy”. Because when you do things because it’s politically correct or it scores you points at work, we know it’s not genuine.

  • Sharon Alleyne says:

    We celebrated through art, reading books that help kids with acceptance and for my playcare our kids and teachers do embrace our LGBTQ kids for us it’s the norm.

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