As families from Green Trees will know, one of the four priorities for the division is Building Competencies around Inclusivity. Green Trees faculty and staff are using our High Resolves trainings as a jumping off point to dive deeper into best practices for doing this work with our youngest children. Some examples of DEI-related initiatives for the 2020-21 school year are:
Teachers are working to create an inclusive environment in each classroom through incorporation of diverse books and manipulatives. At the beginning of the school-year, teachers did an initial survey of their classrooms through a DEI lens to see where resources where lacking and then ordered a variety of classroom supplies for children to interact with that represent various aspects of identity.Division- and Developmentally Targeted Professional Development
By age-level teams, teachers are meeting every month to engage with a resource from Learning for Justice
called Starting Small: Teaching Tolerance in Preschool and the Early Grades
. The resource correctly points out that our goal is “helping children become kind and caring participants in a world that includes everyone.” Teachers first meet to discuss shared understandings and then work as a team to choose two to three ways implement practices into their curriculum. They then engage in a process of implementing the practices, observing the children’s responses, reflecting together on the process, and then planning a way to share this information out with families.DEI Resources
Teachers are focused on helping children build positive self-identity and exposing them to a great diversity of people and experiences through materials including books, art, music, dolls, and manipulatives. As one of many examples, Green Trees faculty continue to build on resources from Learning for Justice
(formerly known as Teaching Tolerance).
Green Light New Orleans
Our youngest Greenies are taught early-on about the importance of the many communities to which they belong – their families, Green Trees, “big” Newman, their neighborhoods, the greater New Orleans community – and the diversity that lies within these communities. Students in the 4s classes culminated time spent exploring community, kindness, and helping others with a community engagement project in partnership with Green Light New Orleans
. Students painted rain barrels that will be distributed to New Orleans residents to help with water conservation and the negative effects of storm water. Learn more about the benefits of rain barrels and how to get one for your home here
After Mardi Gras, Green Trees students reached out to another important group of community members: our elderly neighbors living in nursing homes. Students participated in the “Residents Rock” campaign and painted decorative rocks to help nursing home residents remember they are loved and included in the community.