DEI at St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School
Grounded in what we know about how children construct identity and attitudes, we set forth the following goals for St. Paul's Nursery School to help create a safe and supportive learning community for every child.
Goal 3 : Justice
- Teachers and staff will foster children capacity to critically identify bias and will nurture each child's empathy for the hurt bias/unfairness/stereotyping causes.
- Children will increasingly recognize unfairness (injustice), have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
Goal 3 is about building children's innate, budding capacities for empathy and fairness, as well as their cognitive skills for thinking critically about what is happening around them. It is about building a sense of safety, the sense that everyone can and will be treated fairly.
Learning experiences include opportunities for children to understand and practice skills for identifying unfair and untrue images (e.g. gender stereotypes), comments (e.g. teasing or name- calling), and behaviors (e.g. isolation) directed at themselves or others. This includes issues of gender, race, ethnicity, language, ability, economic class, age, body shape, and more. These early lessons in critical thinking for children, figuring out what they see and hear and testing it against the notions of kindness and fairness, build on their implicit interest in what is "fair"and "not fair".
Goal 4 : Advocacy for Self and Others
- Teachers and staff will cultivate each child's ability and confidence to stand up for oneself and for others in the face of bias or unfairness.
- Children will demonstrate a sense of empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or injustice and/or discriminatory/inequitable actions.
Goal 4 is about giving children tools for learning how to stand up to hurtful and unfair biased behavior or language based on any aspect of social identity. This goal strengthens children's development in perspective taking, positive interactions with others, and conflict-resolution education.
Children's developing sense of self is hurt by name-calling, teasing, and exclusion based on identity. And children who engage in such hurtful behaviors are learning it is acceptable to hurt others, the earliest form of bullying. Teachers will gently intervene, support the child who is the target of the biased behavior, and help both children learn other ways of interacting.
Goal 2 : Diversity
- Teachers and staff will promote each child's comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from diverse backgrounds and multiple lived experiences.
- Children will express ease and joy with human diversity, use accurate language for human differences, and form deep, caring connections across all dimension of human diversity.
- Teachers and staff will encourage children to "notice" and learn about differences among people, knowing that children learn prejudice from prejudice - not from learning about human diversity. It is how people respond to differences that teaches bias and fear.
Goal 2 also calls for creating a balance between exploring people's differences and similarities. All human beings share similar biological attributes, needs, and rights (e.g. the needs for food, shelter, and love; the commonalities of language, families, and feelings) and people live and meet these shared needs and rights in many different ways. This supports the premise: "We are all the same. We are all different. Isn't that wonderful!"
Goal 1 : Identity
- Teachers and staff will nurture each child's construction of knowledge, confident, individual personal and social identities.
- Children will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
Goal 1 is the starting place for all children, in all settings. This goal means supporting children to feel strong and proud of who they are without needing to feel superior to anyone else. Teachers will support children to develop and be comfortable within their home culture and within the school culture.