Diversity and Inclusion
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Early Learning and Elementary
June 2022

If we think of humanity as a large family, then to be inclusive means that everyone has a place at the table. No one is excluded, marginalized, or left out. Everyone has something to offer. 
Often inclusiveness is described as something we should do to benefit others. However when we are inclusive our world becomes larger and we gain relationships and experiences that enrich us. 

Guiding your child to be an inclusive and compassionate individual may be a challenging task for a parent. People come from all different backgrounds and experiences, and while you don’t have to know all the answers, making an effort to inform and educate yourself and your family can go a long way. If you’re looking to encourage more inclusivity in your household, this Snapshot will provide  some suggestions on how to do that.
Diversity vs Inclusion
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Diversity is the representation of various identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, socio-economic status, etc.), as a group and as individuals.

Inclusion is a practice in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are accepted and welcomed and valued. Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by inviting the contribution and participation of all people and creates balance when power differences exist. 

What is Inclusive Education?
An inclusive classroom is a general education classroom where students with and without learning differences learn together. Inclusive classrooms are welcoming and support the diverse academic, social, emotional, and communication needs of all students.

Inclusive education is about looking at the ways our schools, classrooms, programs and lessons are designed so that all children can participate and learn. Inclusion is also about finding creative ways of teaching so that classrooms actively involve all children. 
In this image it is assumed that everyone will benefit from the same supports. They are treated equally.
In this image, individuals are given different supports to make it possible for them to have equal access to the game. They are being treated equitably.
In this image, all 3 can see the game without any supports because the cause of the inequity was addressed. The systemic barrier has been removed.
Benefits of inclusive education:

All children are able to be part of their community and develop a sense of belonging and become more prepared for life in the community.

It provides better opportunities for learning. Children with varying abilities are often more motivated when they learn in classes with other children.
The expectations of all the children are higher. Successful inclusion attempts to develop an individual‘s strengths and gifts. It allows children to work on individual goals while being with other students their own age.

It encourages the involvement of parents in the education of their children and the activities of their local schools.

It fosters a culture of respect and belonging. It also provides the opportunity to learn about and accept individual differences.

It provides all children with opportunities to develop friendships with one another. Friendships provide role models and opportunities for growth.
Supporting Inclusion at Home
Talking openly and positively about differences can help children better understand themselves and those around them. Embracing diversity and inclusion empowers kids to engage in their world with curiosity, confidence and kindness. The following are a few suggestions to promote inclusivity at home.
Surround your family with diverse people.
While the idea of “not noticing colour or disability” might be nice at first, it can actually do more harm than good. People are different, and that’s beautiful.  Look for activities, and social circles with people of different backgrounds and experiences to normalize variation and diversity.
Explain differences, don’t ignore them. We come from many religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds with different values, perspectives, identities, and family makeups. Help your child understand that differences make the world more interesting. Talk about and model how to respectfully share and learn about differences, as well as how to stand against discrimination in all its forms. 
Encourage empathy. One of the key points of inclusivity is thinking and acting with empathy. While diversity is about people of different experiences, inclusivity involves making the effort to understand their experiences, and empathy is an integral part of that. Encouraging your children to think from the perspective of others can be a great exercise in empathizing with someone of different backgrounds from your own.
Teach compassion. It’s not realistic to ask children to be “best” friends with everyone all the time, but children can learn to be friendly, respectful, and compassionate in a group setting, such as school. Teach your child to be aware of other children who might feel left out or require a little extra support. You can challenge your child to include another child who is sitting alone at lunch or playing alone at recess.
Allow for questions. Inclusivity is about understanding and treating people with respect. As long as questions are posed in a respectful manner, asking someone what their experience is like celebrating different holidays or growing up in another country isn’t rude.

However there is a boundary between asking questions to understand and expecting someone to take on the job of educating you. The key is often honesty and respect. 
Prioritize representation in media and books. Another avenue in which diversity and inclusivity is highly important is the media your family consumes. The kinds of people we see represented in films, shows, and books often shape our opinions and experiences within the world, and it’s important to use them as tools towards being more informed people.

Try to read more inclusive literature and consume media that features all kinds of people. 
Go the extra mile to make accommodations. Advocating
for more inclusivity often involves advocating for the accommodations necessary for people of different experiences to feel welcome and comfortable. 

If your child has a friend or classmate who has different requirements, advocating on their behalf in public spaces and ensuring they’re comfortable in your home can make their experience better and model that behavior for your family. 
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Reflection for Parents
Questions about diversity and inclusion parents can ask themselves:

What implicit biases do I have? 

What is unique about our family culture...

By encouraging inclusivity in your household, you’re encouraging inclusivity on a wider scale as well. Raising respectful, knowledgeable, and empathetic members of society helps to foster a better world for everyone.
We Hope You Are Enjoying the Snapshots!
This is our last Snapshot for the 2021-22 school year!

We strive to create a quality newsletter that supports parents and caregivers in the most  challenging, and most rewarding job of raising children!
We will resume the Snapshots in September 2022, until then we hope you and your family have a summer filled with all things that bring you joy!

If you would like to share any final feedback for this year, we would love to hear from you!

Resources and Sources

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