Start Seeing Diversity Video

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I have heard children use the term “gay” before. One particularly recent occurrence took place this school year when one of my students used this name to refer to a peer who had angered him. This particular child has a multitude of anger issues and often is very reactive to name-call amongst his peers. In this instance, I comforted the child who was emotionally distraught over being yelled at and called this, then proceeded to have a conversation with the other little boy. I asked him if he knew what “gay” meant or where he had heard it used before. The little boy admitted he did not know what the word meant and had heard it used in a derogatory fashion amongst members of his family. Comments such as these have carried such negative connotations for such a long time that they can be emotionally damaging to children’s self-esteem, especially when children are using words like this without any sort of frame of reference as to what they are saying. These comments made out of context will also continue to misrepresent words such as “gay” and send mixed messages regarding children’s identity (Derman-Sparks and Edwards, 2010).

One of my major concerns in terms of sexual orientation stems from the fact that as a Christian, I do not believe that homosexuality is right. While I know this is often not a popular view and is looked upon as intolerant, I am a firm believer in the old adage: “love the sinner, hate the sin.” While I am nowhere near intolerant of people living homosexual lives, it is not something I feel comfortable promoting within my Kindergarten classroom. I do however, believe in loving every child entrusted to my care and establishing strong partnerships with their parents regardless of their race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or anything else.

Reference

Derman-Sparks and Edwards Derman-Sparks, L., & Olsen Edwards, J. (2010). Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington, DC: NAEYC.

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3 thoughts on “Start Seeing Diversity Video

  1. It is good that even with your Christian beliefs, you still are still promoting a classroom environment that does not allow discrimination of any form to take place. “Children need teachers willing and able to welcome and support gay/lesbian-headed families in their programs, to intervene when discriminatory incidents occurs, and to help children understand and value many types of family structures” (Derman-Sparks & Edwards, 2010).

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  2. Hello Renee,

    I find it best for adults to talk with children on the meaning of words and prejudice. there comes when a child notices two men to women together with a presence of children. a child understands the concept of parenting (e.g. a mother and a father). Yet, with the nature of homosexuality, a child may not understand that particular type relationship. therefor, as a parent, I believe it is acceptable for children to learn aspects of diversity. the more we educate, the better a child grows into conscious tones.

    Tanya Terrell

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  3. Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, I had a similar experience where a student used a homophobic term in a negative way. I have learned that most children do not know what these terms mean but hear it so much that they begin using it. It is this learning of misinformation that effects children at such a young age.

    I was wondering, because of your religious beliefs, do you think you will ever become comfortable with promoting or even discussing homosexuality with your class?

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