This school year I am beginning our exploration in our bodies and abilities. Each of our bodies are different and are capable of very different things. As the children grow more able to care for themselves and move around the world it becomes apparent when others are not at the same level.
Some of the observations and questions I have heard during our first week of the children noticing our differences are:
“Why does she wear a pull up?”
“Why is he crying?”
“They can climb all the way to the top of the geodome!”
“I don’t know how to read yet.”
“I can’t tie my shoes”
“I still miss my mommy too”
“I can ride a pedal bike without training wheels!”
“Why do they need to take a nap?”
I have spoken to several of you about your children noticing people with different abilities out in the world. Seeing a person in a wheelchair for the first time can be surprising and bring up a lot of questions (sometimes loudly and embarrassingly). Many times, our instinct is to shush questions in fear of being rude or disrespectful but in that moment we are instead teaching that disability is something to be ashamed of and not talked about. This can be really confusing for a child who has just made an observation or is asking a question to get more information about something new to them!
The goal is to teach the children that there are a million ways to have a body and none of them are ‘wrong’. Through books, photos and discussion we can explore all the different ways bodies are shaped, the way that they move and the ways people communicate.
While teaching the children acceptance and anti-bias we are also teaching them to love and appreciate themselves without judgement.
The idea is to have a representation of all types of people to show similarities and differences not just within our classroom but also our community.