Wonders believes a big part of the socio-emotional work we do revolves around incorporating diversity into everyday play.
A vital aspect of our program is our commitment to multicultural and social justice education. We carefully create an environment that reflects not only the cultures of the families we serve but the world around us. We believe this validates children’s experiences, teaches the importance of valuing similarities and differences and builds the connection between home and school. Guiding children to accept and respect individual differences is an integral part of our program. We provide an inclusive learning environment through an engaging curriculum, service learning and by promoting respectful relationships.
This NPR article highlights the importance of how teachers can encourage cross-racial friendships. “In past decades, it’s become increasingly clear that diversity in classrooms isn’t just a buzzword. A growing body of research points to classroom diversity as an important aspect of childhood development. Kids who make friends with kids of other races tend to be more socially well-adjusted, more academically ambitious and better at interacting with people who are different from them.”
Wonders believes that it comes down to the kind of environment teachers create. That’s why diversity education starts with our teachers first.
Here are just some of the few ways Wonders incorporates anti-bias education in our teacher professional development work:
– The Wonders Anti-Bias Philosophy definition is shared with each new team member, it articulates the expectation of all Wonders staff being respectful and acknowledging the diversity of all children and their families as well as other staff members.
– The Wonders Diversity Committee creates learning opportunities for teachers which support and nurture an inclusive learning community based on respect, advocacy and equity.
– Equity and inclusion specialists lead workshops designed to teach our teachers the tools to support the four goals of anti-bias education: to nurture the construction of a knowledgeable, confident identity as an individual and as a member of multiple cultural groups; to promote comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from diverse backgrounds; to foster each child’s ability to recognize bias and injustice; and to cultivate each child’s ability to stand up, individually and with others against bias or injustice.
This knowledge and tools are incorporated into our curriculum and learning. The article
shows “teachers who were warm and responsive to students’ needs and created a classroom context characterized by respect and trust — in those classrooms, students had lower increases in same-race friendships over the course of that year. In other words, students who started the year with cross-race friendships were more likely to keep them throughout the year with the help of a friendly teacher.”
How do you foster respect and acceptance outside of the classroom? Comment below