I am writing this blog post as an on-call staff member at the Portland Montessori School. Recently at the school, a few staff members have formed a Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The purpose of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is to celebrate the diversity that exists not only within our school, but also in the greater global community. As a student of the Portland Public School System myself, I cannot stress the importance of including differences in culture in our dialogues with children. Growing up in Portland, I often times found myself as the only Middle Eastern student in any academic or even professional setting, and by default that meant that I was the representative to teach my peers about my culture. This continued well into college, and showed me the importance of teaching diversity in our schools.
The question then becomes, what exactly does it mean to teach our children diversity? Teaching our children that there are many different kinds of people living in the world, eating different foods, celebrating different holidays, dressing in different ways, etc. Here at the Portland Montessori we’ve celebrated diversity in several ways. Our little friends have traveled the through different cultures by learning about African drumming, Bhangra Dance from India, Lunar New Year, and soon an experience learning about Ramadan!
Our diversity and inclusion committee would be happy to have your love and support in bringing in the world around us to our classrooms. We want to continue to celebrate the differences that we bring to the table and learn from one another.
By Hanan Al-Zubaidy, Member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at TPMS