My own experiences of marginalization, invisibility, and outsider status propelled me to find ways to implement curriculum and environments that embrace, validate, and honor the life experiences and cultures of children like me — those who are not white and not surrounded solely by the English language. Here are some simple ways teachers can help young students from marginalized communities to feel, hear, and see themselves reflected in the classroom:
- Spend time talking with and building relationships with parents and other family members.
- Learn to greet children in their home languages.
- Pronounce children’s names correctly and with as much of an authentic sound as you can.
- Use fabrics and materials familiar to the children in the classroom for tablecloths, wall hangings, containers, and clothing.
- Play CDs and tapes of music from the children’s culture during play periods, rest time, and meal time.
- Invite parents to cook family recipes with the class.
- Take and post pictures of the children and their families and their homes in the classroom.