As a little girl, I remember my sisters and I tagging along occasionally in the summers as my Dad visited his classroom for various reasons we often paid no attention to. While he might be doing an inventory of equipment and compiling orders of beakers, burners, and other scientific tools, we would explore the old and often empty building, climb up and down what we thought were dramatic staircases, play school, draw on the chalkboards, etc. My memories are foggy but happy ones.
Let’s say my three year old son attends an in-home daycare.
March 2nd was Dr. Seuss’ 114th birthday celebration. My social media feeds were a confusing mix of people lovingly and excitedly celebrating Seuss-day, aka Read Across America day, and others voicing an anti-Seuss movement, which stems from the opinion that Dr. Seuss’ works are steeped with racism and stereotypes.
My most recent gig in public ed was supervising and coaching other Early Childhood Educators to ensure the highest program quality, which we measure by our ability to build a strong foundation for future success in life, school, and the community. Ultimately this encompasses the whole child and ranges from social emotional, cognitive, language, literacy, and physical development, and also mathematical thinking, scientific inquiry, and so on… the job is a big one. But, our number one duty everyday is to keep children safe. Safety has to be first, so that they can learn, grow, thrive, and develop.
It’s always magical to see children learning from a young age to appreciate and celebrate their heritage as well as the diverse heritage of others. I’m one of those people who loves the word diverse, y mas en español, diverso, porque todo suena mejor en español. I can’t help but mention here that I recently had a conversation with a man who shuddered as I described my high school alma mater as diverse. He claimed that “diverse” is a word that democrats have stolen and made dirty… don’t get me started on that. So I just want to say it again: (Dear Sir) I LOVE THE WORD “DIVERSE”!
As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.