Scribbles Preschool Classroom Description
The preschool class at Scribbles Early Learning Program includes many children and families who speak more than one language and call many countries in the world home. The teachers within the classroom have worked extensively to incorporate culturally responsive practices. The information provided below includes a summary of the classroom environment, curriculum, and teaching practices. The books and pictures displayed not only include and reflect the cultural diversity present within their classroom, but incorporate cultural diversity within the larger community. Visual representations include children and families from multiple cultural backgrounds, living in varied authentic dwellings, and engaging in activities that are authentic in cultural representations. For example, pictures on the walls include pictures brought in by families that are meaningful to them, and all of the children in the classroom can see their smiling faces in photos throughout the classroom, and also the faces of family members that are dear to them. Photographs are displayed throughout that highlight common community activities, and include photos from local parks, pools, and sports fields. The teachers have worked to incorporate historical representations of various cultures, including saris and babushkas. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, pictorial representations and books depict the first Thanksgiving, highlighting Native Americans and pilgrims, as well as beloved stories of Santa Claus. The kids really look forward to the Cinco de Mayo celebration the class has each year, and the teachers use the opportunity to teach the children about Mexican culture. Holidays, according to the teachers, are one of the most important ways that the children learn about different cultures and these are the holidays they have chosen to joyfully commemorate year after year. The teachers also have many activities planned during February that highlight black history. During that month, the focus is learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which the children seem to enjoy. The teachers are committed to supporting the home languages of children within the classroom community. Each teacher learns basic vocabulary in the varied languages represented in the classroom, including greetings and basic requests/responses. Materials, such as books, are selected and rotated based on the diversity of languages spoken in the classroom, and songs and music that reflect each child’s home culture are included as background music or as a part of morning meeting group activities. Careful attention is devoted to representing males and females engaging in a variety of different roles both in and out of the home, and art materials included ensure that children can authentically represent their races/ethnicities in artistic representation. Once a year, the teachers have a family night, where they create wonderful dishes reflective of each culture within the classroom environment. This past year, the menu included tacos, chow mein, and pierogi. The teachers even learned how to make naan. This once a year emphasis on family cultures is an event they all look forward to. The class utilizes the anti-bias curriculum to encourage children to explore their own beliefs and adopt advocacy perspectives in addressing issues of intolerance that arise within the classroom. The current focus of the classroom teachers includes specific support for helping children understand and accept other children’s perspectives that vary from their own. The teachers use persona dolls to address issues of bias that occur within the classroom. Narratives are created for persona dolls based on issues presented within the environment, and children are encouraged to discuss and explore their own values and beliefs within the context of these narratives.
Culturally Responsive Practices: How Are We Doing at Scribbles Early Learning Program?
As the director of Scribbles Early Learning Program, you are committed to ensuring the development and learning of each and every child within your program. Your program utilizes a culturally responsive curriculum as a tool for supporting children’s healthy development and learning. Recently, the head preschool teacher asked for your help. She and the other teachers in the classroom are excited about the culturally responsive practices they have in place but they are also aware that they could be doing more. She hopes that you will observe the class and then meet with them to better clarify their strengths in this vital area and also suggest opportunities for improvement.
You are thrilled to have been approached in this way and share your enthusiasm for what the teachers have been doing and this opportunity for all of you to grow. You explain that you will observe their classroom over a couple of days and take notes on what you see. You will bring along a Preschool Classroom Environment and Curriculum Checklist that focuses on culturally responsive practices to fill out when you observe and also ask the teachers additional questions to fill in needed information. Based on what you have observed and the checklist, you will then write up your thoughts to share with them.