February is Black History Month. February is a time to celebrate Black history; it’s also a great time to recommit ourselves to diversity and inclusion across the curriculum.
CELEBRATION (see video below)
I’m very excited about this month's events and programming. PAWS brought in The Marshall Dance Company for a special student workshop. In addition, all Oxnard campus classrooms received customized Black History Culture Kits (from In KidZ, founded by one of our WHPS families), with teaching resources and even a set of multicultural crayons and some other cool swag for each student (thanks to the Rocklin family for this amazing donation!)
At WHPS, we believe schools can teach content in authentic, meaningful ways kids can understand and relate to, while still addressing some of the hard truths of the past and present. We are inspired by the work of Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project (TCRWP), whose research underpins much of our elementary curriculum and has come to the forefront of promoting curriculum that recognizes and fights oppression and promotes anti-racism. Our recent adoption of Stamped (for kids) stemmed from their work, and has led to some wonderful dialogue, perspective-taking, and critical thinking in class discussions.
As explained by one of the TCRWP staff developers, literature can serve as mirrors and windows to reflect children's own experience and help them appreciate and understand the experiences of others. Last year, we held a reverse book fair seeking to broaden all kinds of representation (race, gender, ability) in the classrooms. In the past several years, Elementary students conducted an audit of classroom libraries, and Preschool has been working on implementing quality anti-bias education and leveraging learning centers and play to expand representation.
Lastly, as adults we all need to remain committed to lifelong learning. We have some great resources on our blog and our YouTube channel that we find educational, interesting, and/or inspiring. I encourage families to check them out.