An Idea for Age-Appropriate Inclusivity in Early Childhood Stories

Blog Rebirth II: As Waldorf educators and administrators, we are each looking for spaces to echo the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America’s (AWSNA) call for Responsible Innovation; to evaluate and to expand what we offer. Through this process, we also come to recognize the many ways our curriculum is already designed to build multicultural appreciation and understanding, while honoring that these areas require a thoughtful degree of planning to ensure appropriate representation. As we review our curriculum and practices through the lens of equity and inclusion, we discover a wellspring of creativity and hope for the future. We plan to share some of our experiences through this latest version of our ever-evolving blog. 

From our Early Childhood Teachers: Perhaps some of you had the opportunity to see our puppet show at this year’s Fall Fair. It was an adaptation of the Ukrainian tale, “Twiggy.” Two of our Early Childhood teachers Jess Moore & Carolyn Harrison, recently had an article published in the fall issue of Gateways (the newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America) entitled “Age-Appropriate Inclusivity in Early Childhood Stories.” Their adaptation of “Twiggy” came from their study of this topic, and is an example of how we use and adapt stories to acknowledge and appreciate the diversity we are meeting in our classrooms. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“In our community we have gender-fluid children as well as many children from same sex parents. In order to have them see themselves reflected in stories, we looked for stories that seem to lend themselves to a more inclusive
adaptation. In working with stories in that way, we can be sure that we are meeting the children and families of today, as well as penetrating them enough to bring them in an age appropriate way. This spring we reworked the story of Twiggy to be a gender fluid child and from a family of same sex parents. We questioned if the children would be awakened by the images in the puppet show. Twiggy had two mothers and was a boy who wore pink and had long hair. None of the children in all of our classes had any reaction, they dreamed into the stories and characters just as we would hope. Children are accepting of human beings that identify with different genders, sexualities and orientations. We share this with the Early Childhood community so that you can see how we adapted this tale and can start looking at ways stories can reflect inclusivity in your classrooms.” – Jess Moore & Carolyn Harrison