It’s the last day of Pride month – but it’s never too late to stand up for our values and shout out what makes us great! At Heights Cooperative, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and that celebrating love and self-expression is a year-round activity.
Diversity in Books
Starting with Circle Time in our classrooms, we introduce different types of people, families, and cultures with books from diverse authors and communities. At Heights we make sure to talk about all different kinds of stories! Children are naturally curious about their visible differences like skin color, clothing, hair, braces, glasses, visible disabilities, etc. It’s also important to talk about the things we can’t see on the surface, like invisible disabilities, family dynamics, and more.
Some of our favorites that speak to LGBTQ+ diversity are Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer, Teo’s Tutu by Maryann Jacob Macias, ABC Pride by Louie Stowell and Elly Barnes, Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, and Pink, Blue, and You by Elisa Gravel with Mykaell Blais.
In this article for the Buckeye Flame, Mx. Taryn says, “It’s important to have books where the LGBTQ story isn’t the entire focus. Why can’t there just be a book where two dads pick their kid up, or you’re at a birthday party with two moms? It just needs to be normalized, kids need to see that as much as they see heterosexual examples.”
On this note, we love books like Federico and All His Families by Mili Hernandez, Cookies and Cake & the Families We Make by Jennifer L. Egan, Gabrielle’s Gift by Lerone Landis, and Miss Molly Learns Responsibility by Kathleen S. Pero. And we also want to shout out the book Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder – which is about body diversity including size and ability, but can easily incorporate education about gender expression in different bodies too.
Every Family is Different
At Heights, you might have noticed a few changes to the words we use to describe family members. Not every student has one mom and one dad, so we talk about people’s grown-ups! This covers so much more than LGBTQ+ families too – if a student lives with an aunt or uncle, grandparent, or other adult, we want their families to be recognized just as much as students who live with mom and dad.
The assumption that everyone has a mom and dad, and that they are happily married, isn’t true for many people, so we celebrate all kinds of families and encourage our students to appreciate their own unique family structure. This includes friends of the family and non-related aunties and uncles too! Maybe this summer, you could invite all of your family (blood related and not!) to share in celebration of everything you’ve accomplished and built together.
Kids Understand and Celebrate Differences!
It’s so beautiful to see the ways that our students learn about and appreciate the differences between themselves and their friends. Whether that means using different pronouns, recognizing cultural and racial differences, or finding ways to accommodate and include disabled friends, at Heights we are all about celebrating the things that make us different and bring us together!
Photo by Alex Jackman on Unsplash