My two year old son has weekly homework. I confess that since he has been in pre-school, we have done 1 out of 10 assignments. The idea of a toddler having homework perplexes me. What is the purpose..is it really THAT serious?! I didn’t start receiving real homework until my 5th grade year in elementary school. I NEVER did my homework and I probably will not be the best role model for that aspect of my son’s life. Aside from that, I love the school my son attends. My husband and I were very particular about choosing a school that allowed JohnJohn the freedom to be and discover who he is. Sometimes when kids go to school, they are misjudged by their skin color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, even social class. In my opinion, these misjudgements can create a conflict in a child’s understanding of themselves. The story ,All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, perfectly represents a classroom that is biased free and inclusive. Somewhere in the world, a classroom like this exists and this is the type of classroom that I want my JohnJohn to belong to.
It’s the first day of school, and children are flooding the classroom in excitement. This class is multicultural and many different races, ethnicities, genders and learning abilities are represented. There are plenty of things to do- from learning, to playing music, to making art. No school day is complete without lunch and recess; and all the children are playing with glee. School ends. All the kids rest to wake up and do it again.
A young girl with curly pigtails plays with the young girl dressed beautifully in her hijab. The young boy with dreadlocks eats lunch with a young boy that wears his yamaka. Consistently throughout the story, the illustrations clearly reveals the message, “to embrace someone different than you”. It’s important for children to understand that they don’t have to only play with those that look like them. Additionally, in this story, learning looks like freedom. Children are everywhere, not just in desks or standing in perfect lines. They are sitting, standing, even hiding behind bookcases. The authenticity of learning is beautiful and the way that this story embraces each student’s uniqueness is uplifting. All are Welcome models what the world looks like and how our children need to learn to live in this world.