Representation in Curriculum.
I was going to do something not as serious this week, but then I got to the second day of the Mother Goose Time Curriculum and I stopped. I stopped because I found something so awesome that I needed to make sure it was written about. This month the theme is Community Helpers. So we are going over all the people in the community who help us and keep us safe. On the second day of the curriculum I pulled out Doctor.
It was a black man.
I am excited. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I saw myself in any of the professions during community helpers theme while I was in school. I am not quoting statistics to you. I am telling you what I personally experienced while learning. I did not see enough professionals that looked like me. I did not have enough teachers who thought it was important to show their students professionals that looked like them. When I went through the very exhausting task of searching for a curriculum I knew that I would have to fill in some gaps myself because a curriculum cannot cover EVERYTHING. I figured that I would need to ensure the children were exposed to diverse images through me. But this has surpassed all my expectations. The best part is that; it is not a fluke. I have noticed that the pictures have been a lot more diverse. The picture for day 3 was of a woman police officer. For the children, it wasn’t a big deal. Because we do have moms in the military in the program they are not a hard sale on the notion of the types of jobs that people do just because of gender.
The other places besides the pictures of the topic for the day where diversity has been introduced would be the sight word books that come every month. The drawings are all diverse and could represent any of the children in the classroom. I have heard the children telling their friends that they are a certain character. This is so exciting! They are identifying with the characters! Which is so important. I know the yoga videos I show the children have all had diverse children in the videos. This made the children feel comfortable with trying and enjoying yoga with their friends.
As a black woman in the early childhood education career field, I have found that making sure children are exposed to diverse cultures and traditions is so important in making sure that we raise the next generation to be kind and generous. As we continue to do this I am hoping that this becomes so normal that we won’t need to point it out. Hopefully the next generation does this better. For now, I am glad I took the time to research what I used in my classroom with such depth. Things like this let me know that I made the right decision.