Park Early Childhood Center in Ossining, New York celebrated Inclusive Schools Week for the first time. Park is home to approximately 600 our youngest learners and houses our pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.
In collaboration with members of the Park Equity Committee and members of our Special Education Steering Committee, a week-long schedule of school-wide events was developed in order to raise awareness about the benefits of inclusive educational practices. The week wide event was highlighted via social media with reminders being sent and posts capturing daily events.
Monday, December 2nd
Teachers were encouraged to use building-wide community circle work, discussions and read alouds to build general knowledge on inclusion. One of our very talented general education teachers developed and shared an interactive presentation with all staff that addressed many aspects of social-emotional learning but that also specifically targeted inclusion and friendship. Teachers were provided with a list of equity and inclusion minded texts that targeted topics such as kindness and empathy, friendship, ability and differences, family composition, gender/identity, race, language, culture, diversity, perseverance, and mindfulness.
Tuesday, December 3rd
Everyone Counts Day. All students and staff were asked to wear a shirt or jersey with a number on it or one that represented their culture or background.
Wednesday, December 4th
“Many Hands One Community”school-wide pledge from www.inclusiveschools.org. Students, staff, faculty, parents and community members were invited to help us decorate our main entrance by completing the “Many Hand, One Community” handprint.
Thursday, December 5th
ORANGE DAY. Given that orange symbolizes unity, kindness, acceptance, and inclusion, students and staff were asked to wear anything or everything orange! Additionally, one of our amazing special education teachers provided each class with a ball of orange yarn so that classes could participate in a “compliment web” activity. Each student then was given a piece of the web to wear as a friendship bracelet.
Friday, December 6th
Photo Friday!!! To wrap up the week, faculty and staff were asked to capture students being included and including others. Our talented art teacher helped our students make photo prop frames that were distributed across the building. Also, placed in a highly visible area in our building, an “Inclusion Inspiration” board was developed which consisted of images and quotes that focus on inclusive themes.