Puddletown School is a community dedicated to dismantling oppression, bias, and white supremacy/ domination through intentional community building, ABAR education practices, and mutual aid. We seek to uplift and center the voices of historically marginalized communities. We value intersectional diversity: race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender expression and identity, sexual orientation, religion and belief systems, family structure, cognitive and physical abilities, socioeconomic status, and thought. Celebrating the diversity of our staff, caregivers, and learners enriches learning and teaching experiences for everyone.
We are committed to actively countering systemic biases and racism at our school and in our society. With preschool-kindergarten aged learners we promote and focus on self-love, identity work and celebration of diversity. With elementary and middle school aged learners we additionally support a growing understanding of justice, activism and interdependence. We use Anti-bias/Anti-racist (ABAR) teaching frameworks to instruct our work and to support children in meeting the four goals outlined by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards. These are:
- Teachers will nurture each child’s construction of knowledgeable, confident, individual personal and social identities.
- Children will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.
- Teachers will promote each child’s comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Children will express comfort and joy with human diversity, use accurate language for human differences, and form deep, caring connections across all dimensions of human diversity.
- Teachers will foster each child’s capacity to critically identify bias and will nurture each child’s empathy for the hurt bias causes.
- Children will increasingly recognize unfairness (injustice), have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.
- Teachers will cultivate each child’s ability and confidence to stand up for oneself and for others in the face of bias.
- Children will demonstrate a sense of empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
Alongside our children, the adults in our community value critical, conscientious engagement and meaningful action. We grow through thoughtful interaction with each other, striving to build an interdependent community.
At Puddletown we are working to:
- Foster and support a diverse and inclusive community of families and educators.
- Create collaborative opportunities for staff, children, caregiver and family development toward cultural intelligence and sensitivity.
- Offer tools, events, activities, and support to help families address issues of diversity, inclusion, and social justice outside of Puddletown.
- Create a climate of respect, reflection, and engagement around issues of cultural sensitivity, privilege, oppression, and power.
- Challenge ourselves to continually reevaluate curriculum, policies, and practices to ensure that we continue to grow and welcome all voices in a way that is consistent with our values of accessibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
For the 2021/22 school year we committed to:
- Reading and reflecting on an ABAR teaching text as a staff: My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
- Participating as a staff in Embracing Equity’s micro credential for ABAR work
- Continuing to partner with our family/caregiver-led ABAR committee to further this work in our community
Land Acknowledgement and Action Steps
The Portland Metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualitan, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other peoples who made their homes along the Columbia River creating communities and summer encampments to harvest and use the plentiful natural resources of the area (Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable, 2018). We take this opportunity to thank the original caretakers of this land, from whom the land was stolen, and we commit to reparations for their descendants.
For the year 2022, one step Puddletown has taken is making recurring monthly contributions to the Peacekeeper Society, an organization Puddletown staff voted to support.