Incorporating lessons about diversity and inclusivity into one’s curriculum is more of an art than a science, and that is the way it should be. Freedom to explore and discover new best practices is the ideal way for educators to innovate within their curriculum.
Over the past three years Madame Delphine Leo, who teaches French to Hewitt’s lower school students, has been examining her curriculum with an eye towards rethinking and reimagining the way Hewitt’s youngest students engage with a new language. As she began to develop new lessons that more closely aligned with what students were learning in social studies, Leo realized that the materials she was using lacked diverse representation and context. Wanting every child to see herself reflected over the course of the year, Leo began to revise her lessons to provide French instruction that felt contextualized and connected to other aspects of her students’ learning. As a first step, to ensure every student saw children who looked like them in their classroom materials, she took out the closest Crayola box and started shading different characters to reflect the diversity of our lower school classrooms.
Recognizing that diversity and inclusivity extend beyond visual representations, Madame Leo continued to explore multicultural education practices and pedagogy. After months of lesson planning and development, she completed Mon Voyage Autour Du Monde, a French curriculum that celebrates cultural diversity through a global perspective.
Leo’s very deliberate and intentional curriculum takes students on a tour around the world, focusing on the diverse French-speaking cultures and stories found in places like Morocco, Japan, and Senegal. As she teaches Hewitt girls about Francophone countries across the globe, Madame Leo is able to model her own curiosity and purposeful innovation while presenting her students with positive and inclusive images of French-speaking people in our country and abroad. Mon Voyage Autour Du Monde offers a mirror for students to recognize their own cultural backgrounds in their classroom lessons, and an opportunity for students and parents to connect, participate, and engage with the curriculum.
Bien joué, Madame Leo!