As we move into the new school year, I want to take time to write about something that is very important not only to WHPS, philosophically, but also to me personally: Inclusive Education. Oftentimes, when speaking about Inclusive Education people go directly to thinking of including students with needs outside of the “normative range.” While this is one way to think about inclusivity, it is an oversimplification. Inclusive Education is the fundamental belief that every child and family is valued equally and deserves the same opportunities and experiences. Inclusive Education is not a program that a school can choose to run (or not run), it is an educational philosophy that values the participation and education of ALL students in the classroom.
It is no secret that children’s literature is severely limited in its representation of children, families, and characters who have diverse backgrounds. Similarly, the entertainment industry is beginning to recognize its own shortcomings in diverse/inclusive representation. With this in mind, last year, our upper elementary classes held a diversity challenge and reviewed their own class libraries to identify the gaps and limitations in the collection. Since then, we have worked to build the diversity represented, both in our individual classroom libraries as well as in Ann’s Library (the main school library) and will continue to do so to ensure a wide variety of cultures, family structures, and abilities are represented.
(a few recent literature acquisitions)
Celebrating Dia de los Muertos | Friday, November 2
At WHPS, we strive to educate our students about the beauty in the diversity around us. This year we will be holding a Dia de los Muertos celebration and constructing a WHPS Community Ofrenda. We invite all families to bring in pictures of loved ones to place in the library, beginning Monday, October 29 (please clearly label your photographs with your child’s name and room number so they can be returned to you). The elementary students will be learning about this cultural celebration and developing special projects in: Art, Music, Spanish, Technology, and even Barnyard will participate in their own special way.
We hope you will join us on Friday, November 2 for the culmination of these studies. We will have a special Morning Assembly and a chance for you and your child to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda afterward. We are launching this new tradition as a way to honor and remember loved ones and to take part in a cultural celebration together.
Feel free to stop in anytime throughout the week to visit the WHPS Community Ofrenda. I am excited to launch this new cultural tradition together.