Every year, since 1970, June is recognised by communities across the world as the month of Pride – a significant event that commemorates the LGBTQI+ community’s history, visibility and honouring the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
Whitegate Primary School in Clifton, Nottingham shares how they meaningfully embed diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging into the curriculum to prepare their children for the 21st Century.
Children particularly loved reading the book My Shadow Is Pink, a story of love and self-acceptance that weaves in concepts such as gender identity, equality and diversity in an age-appropriate way. Following on from this book staff and children created an “Express Yourself Day” where they could come into school wearing any clothes and colours they liked. They also designed their own flags and discussions around identity, gender and uniqueness were encouraged throughout the day.
Likewise, Reception to Year 2 children enjoyed a book called And Tango Makes Three, this heartwarming story follows Roy and Silo, based on a true story of two male penguins at a zoo that go on a journey to becoming adoptive parents when an egg is in need of a new family. This opened up discussions around the many different types of families today, including adoption and fostering families, in an accessible, gentle and engaging way. Meanwhile, Year 3 and above explored Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, this story highlights the journey of political activist Harvey Milk and the creation of the Rainbow Flag. This prompted discussions about what it means to “be an ally”, the origin of flags and their meaning. The children learned about key figures in history that formed part of the Pride movement, designed their own flags and considered the different versions of the Pride flag over time.
Sophie Wan, Assistant Headteacher of Whitegate Primary School said: “Here at Whitegate, we encourage discussions on a wide range of topics so that we can ensure all children feel like they truly belong and have their own unique place in the world. We celebrate rather than simply tolerate and empower children to ask questions, to understand and articulate how they are feeling with their teachers and classmates. We encourage and support every child to come to school as their authentic self and we encourage them to celebrate the uniqueness of others. Our staff team continues to improve its curriculum and extracurricular activities to ensure inclusion and belonging is at the core of school life.”