Diversity in your library
A few months ago I was able to attend the Association of Illinois Montessori Schools (AIMS) conference. I have always been eager to learn and the theme of this particular conference made me even more excited to attend. “Embracing Diversity” was the theme and since I have recently been implementing a cultural diversity and peace curriculum into our school I could not wait.
The first day was learning how as Administration we need to make sure we are creating an inviting environment to all families while taking into consideration prayer schedules, dietary needs, physical restrictions, bathroom needs, and over-all beliefs. This professional development workshop helped our HOS and I take a closer look at programs our school participates in and reminds us to be sure
programs are inclusive rather than exclusive. The workshop provided ways to create and embrace a diverse staff which celebrates its differences, openly communicates, models proudly for the students.
The second day was the day in which we were able to pick our own personal breakout sessions. We each chose workshops that were more geared towards our personal interests. I went to one about dance, open conversations, and books. Although each of them was amazing and I learned so much from them but one stood out. The workshop which focused on diversity in literature provided so much information on how both parents and teachers can easily be conscious and introduce diverse books in their home/class/school. It is a well-known fact that reading is very important to a child’s development. This is why we keep a well-stocked library in our classroom homes. What we might not think about is the types of individuals represented in these books.
We want to make sure that we are providing books that show children and adults of all types and sizes in a positive manner. If a child who purchases their clothes from a second hand store only reads books about children who get fancy new clothes, what kind of a message are we sending them? What about the child who has a physical handicap and only reads about children who are able-bodied? These are just a few examples of why it is so important to
have a diverse library that includes books that represent all children, not just the majority.
I personally have worked to purchased many different books to help meet the needs of my classroom. I have also worked to find books featuring children that are completely different from my classroom community. By doing this I’m hoping to create a more inclusive and open-minded community in which the members have been exposed to the joy that being different can bring.