Celebrating diversity and welcoming inclusion are principles that fit well with Montessori education. And there are some wonderful resources to help promote those principles in the classroom or at home.
Disclosure: I’ve been given a copy of these materials to review. My opinions are honest and my own. This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).
Here are some amazing diversity and inclusion activities printables for preschool through elementary:
Montessori Diversity and Inclusion Materials from Every Star Is Different
I’ve loved all the materials I’ve used from Every Star Is Different. Like so many of the Every Star Is Different materials, you’ll find materials here for preschool through elementary. I’ve even used some of the materials with toddlers! It’s wonderful to know that the materials can be used for so many years!
Montessori-inspired Friendship Printable Pack
- Discusses appropriate physical boundaries, consent, and ways to show physical affection between friends and family
- Introduces multiple ways to show kindness to others through word and deed
- Includes printables that teach about different types of disabilities including: visual, mobility, auditory, neurological, cognitive, medical, and psychological
- Teaches children how to express emotions appropriately and work on conflict resolution
We do a lot of kindness projects, so it was extra meaningful for my 6-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, to work with the ways to show kindness sorting cards. I like to include related books whenever possible. Be Kind and Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy go perfectly with this work!
Working with Types of Disabilities Sorting Cards
Zoey was very interested in the types of disabilities sorting cards. I love that there are definition cards to go with so many of the activities! There are cards for medical, visual, auditory, mobility, neurological, cognitive, and psychological disabilities. Zoey had lots of questions, and the book Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor did a wonderful job of answering her questions.
Zoey was especially interested in knowing more about the Braille alphabet, so I ordered the book Six Dots: A Story of the Young Louis Braille, a fascinating book. (You can see it on our forward-facing bookshelves the bottom of this post.)
For my 2-year-old grandkids, I just used a few of the mobility, auditory, and visual cards to give an introduction to types of disabilities. You could just have them match two of the same pictures. I simply gave a presentation with the cards and used the book Different Abilities to go with the activity. Many disabilities, such as cognitive disabilities, neurological disabilities, and psychological disabilities, are difficult for toddlers to understand.
I do use two books with photographs of only children with Down syndrome to show children with Down syndrome enjoying and doing many of the same things Sophia and Caleb do. Here, after our lesson, Sophia is looking at one of her and Caleb’s very favorite books: Kids Like Me … Learn ABCs. It shows photographs of multicultural children with Down syndrome throughout the book, and it includes the sign language alphabet for each letter as well! (Note: There’s also a Kids Like Me … Learn Colors. I need to get that, since Sophia and Caleb love the ABC book so much. The colors book has both English and Spanish words for each color, which is perfect!)
The other book I love is Down on the Farm , the sweet, Montessori-friendly story of a group of children visiting a farm. Each of the children in the book has Down syndrome.
Renae has a post at Every Star Is Different with lots of helpful ideas for using some of the printables from the Montessori-Inspired Friendship Printable Pack to focus on physical boundaries and consent activities for kids. These sorts of activities can be adapted for a variety of ages.
The emotions cards are great used alone for toddlers and preschoolers. The other materials in the Emotional Regulation Printable Pack are great for preschoolers on up. I made most of the cards into a booklet for Zoey to read. I omitted the cards that weren’t applicable to Zoey. She loved it! I have it available if she ever wants an idea of something calming to do.
Here’s a message from Renae of Every Star Is Different about what’s included in the rest of the bundle:
The NEW Diversity and Inclusion Bundle includes activities about race, ethnicity, religion, disabilities and… the LGBTQ+ Community.
At the very mention of LGBTQ+ some may be getting a little nervous and uncomfortable. Others may be literally disgusted. And then there are those that are relieved and excited.
The word LGBTQ+ brings out a lot of emotions. It’s a heavy topic. And to include it in a children’s activities bundle…
That’s what I want to talk to you about today in hopes that those who are nervous, uncomfortable, or disgusted can feel better about the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle.
First though, for those that are wondering, my husband and I are very happily straight living in a monogamous relationship. We attend church as often as we are able. Our children are involved in our local church youth group.
Why is the LGBTQ+ Community Included in the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle
We included LGBTQ+ community components in this bundle because our children were asking questions about others they see in our community, on tv, and while reading books. Children are very observant. They will ask questions.
The LGBTQ+ resources in the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle are designed to answer those questions when the time is right.
Both my husband and I have friends who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Some of those friends have children who attend school.
Children with parents in the LGBTQ+ community may be in your classroom.
Classmates wonder why a child has two moms or two dads or why children with a transgender or nonbinary parent dresses and looks the way they do.
We wanted to create a resource for when questions about the LGBTQ+ community come up. This is it!
In our home we teach love for all. Just because someone chooses to live differently than we do, does not mean we don’t extend the utmost kindness towards them just like everyone else.
Education eliminates fear and invites love and understanding which then turns into peace, which is what Maria Montessori was all about.
The LGBTQ+ community is a minority. They are being discriminated against. They are being excluded by many. A bundle that teaches about diversity and inclusion would not be complete without including them.
How is the LGBTQ Community Depicted in the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle
All depictions of LGBTQ+ community members are 100% kid friendly and appropriate for all audiences. There is no kissing or any other form of affection past putting an arm around each other, hugging, or putting heads together.
All LGBTQ+ community members depicted in true to life images are adults with the exception of one transgender or nonbinary teenager whom you can opt to remove from activities. Other options are available.
All descriptions of the LGBTQ+ community members are also 100% kid friendly and appropriate for all audiences.
There is no mention of the word “sex.”
When describing sexual preference only the words “romantic relationship” are used.
In the family bundle the phrases “gave birth to” and “contributed to the creation of” are the go to terms.
Definitions of the LGBTQ+ community members have been approved by members of the LGBTQ+ and heterosexual communities. I spent hours and hours working with my friend Ashley from Diamond Montessori analyzing every word of every definition to make sure the were accurate and appropriate for young children.
This is a safe resource for children.
I Don’t Want to Use the LGBTQ+ Resources in the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle.. Is It Still Worth Purchasing?
The answer to this question is 100% yes!
In every activity where the LGBTQ+ community is represented (with the exception of the LGBTQ+ nomenclature, description and flag cards), there are other card options of heterosexual couples and families.
You do not have to print or use any LGBTQ+ resources.
The price of the bundle was decided based on the fact that many would never use all of its contents. Every child, family, and classroom is different.
The Diversity and Inclusion Bundle should be $19.99, but we’re selling it for $14.99.
You are not wasting money if you choose not to use LGBTQ+ resources included.
If you purchase the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle it does not mean that you are in support of the LGBTQ+ Community. The use of the printables is optional.
I hope this clears up any questions and concerns you may have about this fantastic bundle related to the LGBTQ+ Community.
If you have more questions and concerns, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me in a kind and respectful manner. I am more than happy to answer.
Renae, Every Star Is Different
A note from me (Deb):
I love these words from Renae:
“In our home we teach love for all. Just because someone chooses to live differently than we do, does not mean we don’t extend the utmost kindness towards them just like everyone else.
“Education eliminates fear and invites love and understanding which then turns into peace, which is what Maria Montessori was all about.
“The LGBTQ+ community is a minority. They are being discriminated against. They are being excluded by many. A bundle that teaches about diversity and inclusion would not be complete without including them.”
My now-adult children were figure skaters. They first started figure skating after we had just moved from South Dakota where there were almost no openly gay people at the time. Knowing that there’s a high percentage of gay male figure skaters, we chose that time to introduce our children to the concept of gay individuals. We wanted our children to accept them along with everyone else. At the time, we just said that some men like to date other men. For that place and era, that was fine. My children both grew up with both straight and gay friends. And they both only dated heterosexual individuals. Now they’re both in happy, monogamous, heterosexual marriages … and they easily accept and are friends with people from the LGBTQ+ community, too.
These materials would have been perfect to have available at the times when my children wanted more information. We simply had open and honest discussions, but these printables would have been wonderful tools.
Montessori-inspired Relationships Printable Pack
- Answers questions children may have about LGBTQ+ relationships and identities they observe around them
- Introduces the progression of dating, engagement and marriage in heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships for those interested
- Discusses interracial and same race couples
- Includes couples with disabilities
Montessori-inspired Family Printable Pack
The Montessori-Inspired Family Printable Pack is available as part of the Montessori-Inspired Diversity and Inclusion Bundle at 75% off or purchased individually at 50% off.
- Provides multiple activities to help children identify and understand their family units
- Includes half, step, biological, adoptive, foster parent, and sibling options for those who need it
- Introduces LGBTQ+ family relationships for children who may be born into or adopted into that community, and for classmates who are trying to understand how families differ and are the same
- Teaches different ways people say mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather
There are many options for types of families in this pack, which is wonderful for finding materials that fit your specific family. We just started using the pack with a toddler/preschooler activity that’s wonderful. There are a number of different versions of “My Family” books that can be made. I printed the words in Caleb’s book and added photos and the names he uses for mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and cousins. He loves looking through the book and identifying the names of his relatives!
Montessori-inspired Spiritual Needs of Man Printable Pack
- Introduces the difference between self-love, friend love, family love, and romantic love
- Provides materials for the study of major religions around the world
- Includes cultural cards that focus on dance, music, art, and theater
- Discusses different ways people choose to beautify themselves
Books We’ve Used to Go with the Diversity and Inclusion Bundle
Here are a few diversity and inclusion books I love. (Note: You’ll find some of these books in my recommendations of peace books for kids.)
- The Barefoot Book of Children is filled with images and information about children around the world. It again shows that we’re more alike than different. My favorite lines are these: “Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.” The book is recommended for kindergarten through grade 3, although I think younger children, especially 3 and 4 year olds can enjoy the story and pictures without all the details at the end.
- Based on the story of Augie Pullman, We’re All Wonders is a perfect way to start a dialogue with young children about the importance of choosing kindness regardless of how someone looks or acts. It’s recommended for children ages 4-8. The original Wonder, the #1 New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio is recommended for children ages 8-12, but it’s an amazing book even for adults. You can read more about the Wonder books in my review.
- We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices includes helpful ideas for conflict resolution and peacemaking.
- Everyone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others includes both a celebration of diversity and an emphasis on the importance of showing respect for everyone.
- A Little Peace by Barbara Kerley is one of my very favorite peace books. It’s a National Geographic children’s book with amazing photographs and few words. At the back of the book, there’s a map with the country and explanation of the activities in all the photos. The book is wonderful for toddlers on up.
- Six Dots: A Story of the Young Louis Braille is a a fascinating story with easily understood information for ages 4-8. (For my 2-year-old grandkids, we’re using the SENSEsational Alphabet Touch and Feel Picture Cards for them to experience Braille with letter sounds. They LOVE the cards, and Zoey loves the card that has the entire Braille alphabet on one side and the sign language alphabet on the other side.)
- Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor encourages empathy and gives a thorough introduction to a variety of disabilities.
- All Are Welcome is a fabulous book of inclusion … ideal for peaceful classrooms. It’s recommended for ages 4-8. I’d love to see classrooms around the world sharing this book with their students. I also think it’s important for families to emphasize their encouragement of inclusion and diversity.
- W is for Welcome: A Celebration of America’s Diversity doesn’t have perfect words for every letter of the alphabet (such as knowledge for the letter k), but it has so much great information in a Montessori-friendly book that celebrates America’s diversity. There’s one set of information for younger children and a more detailed set for early elementary.
- Hats of Faith is a great way to help young children begin to understand and accept differences in people they encounter. I love the respectful words of the first page: “Many religious people share the custom of covering their heads to show their love for God.”
- Different Abilities is an easily understood introduction to disabilities for preschoolers.
- We All Sing with the Same Voice is an illustrated version of the Sesame Street song “We All Sing with the Same Voice.” The hardcover includes a CD of the song. My 2-year-old grandkids are in love with this book and song! The song includes the words “I’ve got one daddy. I’ve got two.” A variety of families, including a child with two daddies is shown at a park on one two-page spread. It’s handled in a totally child-appropriate way, although I want to mention it in case you don’t want that in a book for young children.
The Colors of Us is a book that truly celebrates diversity. It’s recommended for ages 4-8. It’s been one of Zoey’s favorites since we first had it when Zoey was 4. I have a blog post with more information about this fabulous book.
Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems is the first children’s book that caused me to laugh out loud when I read through it in a bookstore. I immediately bought it for Zoey when she was 3 years old. My son had the same reaction I did when he first read it to Zoey. And Zoey had the same reaction, too. The book is just hilarious. I have a post with more information: “Our Favorite Picture Book About Inclusion and Friendship.”
If you’re looking for some wonderful multicultural songs, check out my post with lots of free multicultural songs celebrating diversity and inclusion.
My Reviews of Montessori Printables from Every Star Is Different
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