Think about your favorite room in your home. Chances are that space is a reflection of your social identities and others could learn about you just by viewing that space. An inclusive early childhood classroom should feel the same way. It should be a reflection of the children and family served. Here are 3 classroom strategies for creating a safe and welcoming classroom:
1. On signage, include the home languages of families in your classroom.
By designing a classroom that is easy to understand regardless of a user’s language skills, families can enter the building or classroom environment and immediately know or intuit expectations.
2. Ask families for books, songs, family photos, and other meaningful traditions that can be incorporated in the classroom environment.
Materials in your classroom should reflect the homes, communities, and abilities of the families served. By allowing families to share meaningful items with the class, you create a sense of belonging and membership.
3. Create an area for families to sit and talk, and areas where small groups can gather and converse comfortably.
Whether it is a small sitting area arranged in the welcome area or a small couch inside the classroom, these types of areas support family communication with teachers.
For more practical classroom management strategies to help create an inclusive classroom for all families, check out The Welcoming Classroom. Author Johnna Darragh Ernst specializes in helping early childhood professionals connect with families to create inclusive early childhood classroom communities. Learn more here.