Hi folks! I’m Ari, Barrow’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator! In this post, I’ll quickly introduce myself and then share a bit about how you’ll see some of my work play out throughout the school year.
Who am I, and what drew me to this role?
At the start of my teaching career, most of the DEI-based resources for families and teachers were geared towards ages 5+. With a lack of resources, I felt torn between knowing that DEI should have a place in Early Childhood and how I could properly go about infusing it. Throughout my time at Barrow, I’ve been able to attend a number of conferences and workshops that have helped me hone a better understanding of how I can make this work accessible to young children. When I was given the opportunity to share that information with folks beyond the Red Room, I jumped at it!
What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ?
Diversity – The idea that differences and uniqueness should be celebrated.
Equity – The idea that each child and family should get what they need, even if that differs from child to child.
Inclusion – The idea that each child and family should feel seen, safe, and loved for who they are.
Why at Barrow?
As per our school’s mission statement,
“Our community draws strength from the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of our joyful children, dedicated teachers, and engaged families.”
Just as we are intentional with teaching the ABCs, DEI calls for a similar level of intentionality. Children need our help making sense of the world and it is therefore our responsibility to guide them towards becoming empathetic and caring members of society.
What is my role?
-Continue leading Social Justice Storytime Parent Workshops with Samson. For new families: SJS is a workshop geared towards supporting and facilitating difficult conversations with children via children’s books. The discussions that come from our conversations have been vulnerable, inspiring, and energizing! Our first workshop this year will be Thursday, November 4th!
– Collaborate with Samson to lead DEI-focused professional development.
– Help facilitate Family Week (March 6th-10th), a time for our school community to celebrate the unique identities of each of your families!
– Share with you the incredible DEI-related work that’s happening in classrooms via StoryPark and Instagram. Keep reading for an example of what this might look like!
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion work look like in the 4/5s?
Last January, a Black Lives Matter poster that was hanging on the inside of a Greenwich House Marquee was vandalized. Lily Pollak and I saw this as an opportunity for action. After we told our students about the vandalization, the class decided that they should make a new poster to replace the one that had been broken.
This process not only allowed our students to show Black and Brown folks within the Barrow/Greenwich house community that they matter to them, but it also provided our students with a tangible way to be resilient in the face of hardship.
If we haven’t met yet, please tap me on the shoulder if you see me in the halls! You can also email me with any questions, concerns, ideas, wonderings, etc…
Love and Shine,