A place to learn, where every child matters…
As a parent and teacher, when I think about the children around me-they way I perceive them, the things I believe about the children-effect everything I do with the children. I believe that when we come from a place of thinking of children as strong, competent, and capable-my teaching encourages the children to grow and develop. And I come from a place, as many of us have come from a place, of thinking of children as needing to be taught, deficit, and lacking in some kind of a way…. our approach will be different! (Laureate Education Inc, 2011).
If I have a child-care of my own, I would like to make an inclusive as well as affirming environment for every child regardless his or her different abilities, race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, economic class, family structure and religion.
Therefore, I would like to start identify the children who came in my classroom-WHO THE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE! After I find out who they are, I need to make sure to enroll all of the different children and families in the learning process in my classroom by make the children and their families visible in all parts of my learning environment (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010). Therefore, I would build the early childhood classroom of my own to have a unique way and look!
The second thing I would like to do is: I need to look at which other people, groups and families from larger society are missing and then bring in more diversity in the classroom. I would like to select the learning material to show in the classroom the diversity that can exist within groups (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).
For example, I do not choose just one picture, doll, puzzles, object or book to represent any particular group or way of life. For example: I need to include providing the persona doll in my classroom with the different physical characteristic such as different skin colors and shades, hair texture and eye colors. I would also need to provide the persona doll with the different physical abilities such as a doll in wheelchair, or using the leg braces, hearing aid, assistance dog and many more.
It is important to make sure that each doll’s feature is realistic and individual rather than caricaturized or stereotypical. I need to make sure that the dolls with disabilities reflect various racial and ethnic backgrounds as well.
In other words, I need to really know what kind of learning material that I need to choose to really represent all of the diversity within the classroom as well as outside the classroom-such as the diversity in our community.
When every child with their differences in many ways comes into my classroom, I want each of them to feel that they are comfortable, important, and respected by the time the entering my classroom door.
Once again, as their guidance, when I come from a place of thinking of children as strong, competent, and capable-my teaching encourages the children to grow and develop. I want every child also to feel that his or her identities are visible in every learning material and environment that I choose for the classroom. Because I truly believe, that invisibility erases identity… and visibility affirms reality!
Well…, I just hope that my dream for children to feel that each of them really matters in the classroom will come true one day….
Brunei Darussalam, September 2013
Derman-Sparks, L. & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Washington, DC: www.naeyc.org.
Laureate Education, Inc., (2011). Building on Children’s Strengths. A video Program. Baltimore, MD.