Early Childhood Students Learn About Diversity and Inclusion

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2020

The students in Gaynor’s Early Childhood program (EC) do everything from drawing pictures to listening quietly during story time, but what about learning about complex subjects like social justice, racism, and segregation?

In the Purple Cluster, students learn about those topics through a series of unique, multi-sensory lessons. This week, Lexington Room students began learning about these topics by analyzing inside and outside characteristics.

The foundation of the lesson began with students learning and defining what comprises “inside” and “outside” characteristics. Inside characteristics are demonstrated by our actions, choices, feelings, and treatment of others. Outside characteristics are defined as hair, skin, eyes, and height.

Students received a paper cut-out of a person, which they colored to look like themselves. They were tasked with mixing paint in order to find the proper skin tone that represented them.

Early Childhood Director Rebecca Jurow said, “We talk about outside characteristics briefly before moving on to the more meaningful inside characteristics conversation. This activity connects social-emotional learning through RULER, as well as the EC’s bucket dipping and filling concept where students learn that by filling other people’s emotional buckets, they also fill their own.”

Once students are done making the cut-out look like themselves, they then add “inside” characteristics to the doll that represents who each student is on the inside, such as kind of happy.

“This helps show how what we do and what we say is important and tells people who we are, while sometimes our outside characteristics do not accomplish this,” Ms. Jurow said. “Some of our big ideas are that people are alike but not the same and how to be a good citizen.”

These conversations are also connected to characters in books the class reads, as well as people students learn about in history.

This lesson also ties into Gaynor’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion curriculum, which was created over the summer. To learn more about the DEI curriculum, click here.