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Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

  • 1.  Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi all. I am looking for some options outside of Lakeshore or Discount School Supplies that have meaningful toys and classroom curriculum to help promote diversity and inclusion. This is for a preschool with children aged 6 months to 5 years. I thought this forum would be a good place to get some ideas. Thanks for your help

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    Stephanie Larson
    Director
    San Diego Cooperative Preschool
    San Diego CA
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  • 2.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Stephanie,
    I am the new curriculum coordinator for Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center in Buffalo, New York.  Our program is a specialized preschool for children with disabilities.  One thing I have been embracing for toys is loose parts.  There are no right or wrong ways to play with them.  Kids can get creative.  I have been collecting various things to offer our kids to use: milk jug caps, tissue boxes, egg cartons, ribbon, muffin tins, pine cones of various sizes, etc.  One object I came across recently is a plastic 4-pack can holder.  My boys work at the local beer store and had a stack of them.  They come in different colors, stack but do not lock in and make a nice sound when dropped (which I noticed as I dropped most of them trying to get them into a bag).  If they break or crack you recycle it!  Hope you find this helpful.
    Kirsten Henderson

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    Kirsten Henderson
    Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center
    Eden NY
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  • 3.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 10 days ago
    This post was removed


  • 4.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 10 days ago
    Stephanie,

    I do not work for Kaplan, but as a Instructional Leader for 32 classrooms I have purchased the majority of the Kaplan learning tools and art supplies to support diversity and culture in our classrooms.  I have never been disappointed in their quality, nor the response I get if something breaks or does not live up to expectations.  I highly recommend their products.

    Last year we started an awareness to introducing and highlighting culture/diversity/equity/inclusion at our regional meetings.  We started a conversation with our teachers and support staff in regards to how important it is we intentionally "teach" and or begin the process of creating classroom experiences that support and educate our youngest learners in the area of equity.  Many adults also need to rethink their position on these highly important topics and to be reflective of your own pedagogy in regards to current and past events in history.  We supplied all classrooms with diversity items using ECERS-3 as a guide and Creative Curriculum strategies to support implementation of DAP research based strategies.   Each of our teachers were given funds to support the purchase of five new books to start their own culturally explicit classroom library that will guide and expose children to similarities and differences in people.  Many times culturally appropriate materials are added to classroom centers, but no one explicityly has guided conversations with the children about what the materials are and what country or group of people they represent...the materials are there but not intentionally used as teaching tools!

    Just starting the conversation with your teachers is probably the first step, and since I am a book freak that is where I always start when implementing new ideas and strategies

    Just sharing,

    Linda Housewright
    Instructional Leader ROE#33
    Early Childhood consultant
    Monmouth, Il

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    Linda Housewright
    Carthage IL
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  • 5.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 10 days ago
    Re: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion
    I do not own any copyrights to this site, but being a teacher for 19 years I have found this site to be extremely useful. I found  fun things, activities and even structured lesson plans using the items created from it.
    Pinterest is a super fun and exciting site. I have used this site to get all my creative ideas to decorate my classroom using different themes. I have also found ways to become innovative because you can actually create things from scratch for beginners right up to 12th grade. It has numerous activities, lessons and items to incorporate in a diversified and inclusive classroom. I hope this helps.
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/169799848422054590/

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    Shirlet Halliday
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    Shirlet Halliday
    Master of Science in Health Psychology
    Santa Maria CA
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  • 6.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 10 days ago
    Stephanie, you might check out MontessoriServices.com.

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    RoJean Loucks
    Lindsborg KS
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  • 7.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hello Stephanie,
    I have always enjoyed adding pictures of the children in my classroom to make a variety of toys. I have made cards to sequence or to match. I sequence from 1-10. I made cows once and watched while one child lined them up and pushed them on the floor and older child matched and sequenced. I made drum out of covered oatmeal container to use a drums. You can used one set of younger pictures of a family to match to older. I have glued them lids from frozen juice cans for fishing.  I am working on puzzles pictures.
    Gluing or using contact paper to attach to the top of popsicle stick for fun works well too.

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    Holly Tretheway
    Resource and Referral Specialist
    The Children's Cabinet
    Reno NV
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  • 8.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Stephanie,
    I was just talking with a teacher who had purchased many real cooking tools such as tongs, pancake flippers, chapati and tortilla pans, and  more.  The school reported an increase in the depth of play.  Children were interacting and talking in several languages about making the foods they have at home.  Also, toys such as tongs were so helpful for the children with fine motor control.

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    Julia Billington
    Vienna VA
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  • 9.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 8 days ago
    I literally take the time to introduce and discuss the items in the centers as that I learned many have no idea of the vocabulary associated with the tools and learning materials.  The new or enhanced vocabulary provides deeper play opportunities, also.

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    Latrece Johnson
    Mobile AL
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  • 10.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi Stephanie,

    I recommend listening to the webinar  "Using Loose Parts to Create Culturally Sustainable Environments" with Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly: https://www.earlychildhoodwebinars.com/webinars/using-loose-parts-create-cultural-sustainable-environments-miriam-beloglovsky-lisa-daly/

    They also have a book on red leaf press by the same title that is 3rd in their loose parts series and goes deeper into the topic with beautiful photos, but the webinar outlines the main ideas and provoked me to change the way I think about classroom materials. They talk about the way prepackaged "cultural" materials often reproduce stereotypes, and how replacing things like plastic tacos and spaghetti and meatballs in the play kitchen with loose parts allows children to map what they actually eat and know at home onto their classroom play. They also focus on building relationships with families and working with families to source loose parts from materials that have meaning in their home life or cultural memory.

    Intentionally curating our book collection with anti-bias education in mind has been another huge change in my classroom that has led to many meaningful discussions as well as mirror and window moments for children.

    I'd also recommend auditing your current materials to see if dominant-structure experiences (white, english-speaking, heterosexual, cisgender, thin, non-disabled, two-parent families, etc) are overrepresented in things like books, dolls, figurines, games, & images, and also noticing whether multicultural figures/images are represented in a stereotypical light (i'm thinking especially about the many collections of "children around the world" from Kaplan, Discount School Supplies, and other major players that depict figures from different countries in historical dress.)

    An ongoing project I started a few years ago during a fall prep week was to find and print out images of people doing things that interest children-- dancing, performing, gardening, flying kites, making & demanding change-- curated with diversity across many domains in mind, and with a focus on people involved in projects local to our area. I read about each person/project so that I'd be able to have conversations with children if they asked about something, then laminated and posted them in an area of the classroom, and have added over the years. Some I keep loose in a folder to pass around after a story or project that's on topic with those people. Some teachers do a similar thing with creating books or binders because their wall space is reserved for child art only. It was more time consuming than buying a prepackaged curriculum piece, but has led to many meaningful conversations and contributed to my own learning as well as children's.

    Hope this helps!

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    Encian Pastel
    Children's Community Center, Gender Justice in Early Childhood, Bay Area Childcare Collective
    Richmond CA
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  • 11.  RE: Classroom toys and curriculum that promote diversity and inclusion

    Posted 7 days ago
    Dear Encian,
    I am so grateful every time you share your perspective because it is a breath of fresh air!
    Thank you! I hope we get to collaborate some day!
    Alya
    she/her

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    Alya Stoffer-Koloszyc
    Director
    Farm Hands Preschool
    Northampton MA
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