At our center we strive to bring an inclusive space that fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment for all of our families and welcomes all people. We are proud of the ways we build this environment for our kids and community. This month, in celebration of Pride month, and our overall commitment to inclusion and belonging, we wanted to share some resources and practices that can help build a welcoming space for families and instill those same mindsets in the kids at the center.
In the classroom, it is great to have a range of books that model and normalize diversity. This can include cultural diversity, racial diversity, but also family diversity. Here is a great list to get started from Education World:
- Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini
- The Family Book by Todd Parr
- Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne
- Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman
- Molly and Her Dad by Jan Ormerod
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
- Abuela (English edition with Spanish phrases) by Arthur Dorros
- Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff
- Every Year On Your Birthday by Rose A. Lewis
- Fred Stays With Me! by Nancy Coffelt
In the same vein, having images, posters, and sayings around the classroom that reflect and further reinforce this same commitment to diversity can speak volumes to welcoming students and their families to feel they belong and are safe. Check out this Pinterest board and these bulletin board graphics for some ideas!
Some other best practices that we love are reflected in this article from Growing Up Bilingual. Some of what they mention includes, ensuring families and students are encouraged to speak their native language, playing music and sharing food from around the world, celebrating diverse holidays, normalizing physical disability, and inviting families in to read to kids or share about their lives.
Last but certainly not least, we love this advice from Bright Horizons to explain rather than ignore differences. To truly be inclusive means to build understanding and celebrate differences. Often, we ignore differences because we don’t know how to talk about them or they make us uncomfortable. However, this only serves to reinforce the marginalization and development of bias around people and experiences that are different from what we know. By learning to understand and celebrate difference we can truly build a welcoming and inclusive space for all of our kids, families, and community!
At The Family Center/La Familia we are proud of the work we do inside and outside of the classroom to build belonging and inclusion for all of our community members. The work we do would not be possible without our phenomenal supporters. We are thankful for you!
Learn more about our work and how reliable monthly donations can help to build a stronger foundation for our work and a drive toward a more inclusive and empowered community.