Fostering inclusion and building community
Creating and nurturing a culture of inclusion begins with children, and we are so lucky to be a part of a community of parents, educators, and librarians who believe as strongly as we do in the importance of community building.
When we introduced StickTogether® at World Maker Faire New York 2015, we set out to offer a collaborative project for all ages and abilities. Five years later, our most enthusiastic fans are still some of those teachers who have since integrated our mosaic puzzle posters into their programs, fostering engagement and helping build connections for students of all ages, from all backgrounds and with different abilities.
That’s the beauty of collective accomplishment. There are many ways to continue this work in our communities, and many resources exist to help parents and schools begin and advance conversations about bringing people together.
They include these:
- The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the Smithsonian Institution’s newest museum in Washington, D.C. It offers materials and programming for early childhood education, families, and educators to participate, collaborate, and learn more about African American history and culture.
- StoryCorps is a nonprofit group that captures and shares “humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” Snippets of the interviews are heard weekly on National Public Radio, but the project is archived in the Library of Congress. An education division works specifically with schools, families, and communities to learn about empathy, understanding, and listening.
- Teachers can bring current events to the classroom with the help of The Learning Network, a project of The New York Times that offers lesson plans, news quizzes, images, and writing prompts. This is a tool geared for grades 7-12, but conversations about the news and global events can begin much earlier with the help of these resources.
- Get a global view of the world with National Geographic Education. Appropriate for Pre-K-12, this online tool brings the world to students at their fingertips with fun experiences like GeoBee, GeoChallenge, and Explorer Classroom. Information can be presented in activities, articles, infographics, and lessons as well, for all grades in numerous subjects, from social studies to anthropology.
- Tolerance.org helps educators teach kids “to be active participants in a diverse democracy.” They offer free resources for kids from K-12 that emphasize social justice and anti-bias. Their classroom resources include lessons, film kits, and several podcasts.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), works “to achieve a collective vision” that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.” The latest update to one of their resources, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children & Ourselves” offers advice “to navigate and thrive in a world of great diversity.”
- StickTogether projects are made to bring together people of all kinds, in schools, libraries, corporate settings, or in senior centers. The beauty of the mosaic sticker puzzles is they are simple to use, can be done a little at time or all at once, by a small group or a large one. There’s no minimum age, education level, or language requirement, and teamwork is encouraged. It’s this kind of supportive environment that we hope can continue to evolve and spark conversations around the country.
We would love to hear your stories about ways you have used StickTogether puzzles to bring people together in inclusive ways. Please share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram pages.
Find the newest designs and best-selling puzzles here and find some sale puzzles here (including a beach scene and a space shuttle!). All standard kits are still on sale for the summer break. Use the code “Summer” at checkout to save $4.
Be safe, stay healthy, and let's all StickTogether!