Laying groundwork is one of the keys to success when embracing family diversity, avoiding gender stereotyping, and ending bullying and name-calling in K-5 learning environments. Creating a safe and welcoming school for all children and families takes many people – from administrators to educators and staff to parents and guardians. Work with others. Collaboration is key. When beginning this work, ask yourself these questions:
- What level of support is there among the administration, the parent/guardian community, and the educators in your school or district?
- Do you need help figuring out a good place to start in your school? Contact a Welcoming Schools regional consultant for advice. Or, check out the School Climate Assessment to help you look at what you are doing now and what you could do to develop a more welcoming school.
- Do people question the need for addressing gay put downs or family diversity in elementary school? There are many ways to use our film, What Do You Know? to help start these conversations.
- Do you need to hold events in your school community on family diversity or bullying and name-calling to build community and support?
- Do the educators and staff in the school feel prepared to address hurtful teasing, bias-based bullying or gay put-downs? Do they feel comfortable answering questions about family diversity? Are they ready when those teachable moments arrive? Is there a need for professional development on these topics?
- Can Welcoming Schools work connect with other initiatives in your school/district— anti-bullying efforts, social skills programs, academic achievement? Check out some facts on academic achievement and school connectedness.
- Do you want to develop a classroom and school that allows children to be who they are without the limitations of gender stereotyping? Look at “Gender and Children: A Place to Begin.”
- Do you have a child in your classroom or school that expresses themselves in ways that don’t typically match their biological sex? Learn more by checking out our bibliographies with recommendations of books for adults on gender identity and children. Check out children’s books that look at gender identity. Or contact one of our regional consultants for help and trainings.