My school is like many across the country. It is not in a large, multicultural city and does not accommodate a culturally diverse population. However, we have embraced the challenge to produce 21st century global citizens--even if our local area does not seem very global at first glance. Clearly, there is a need to equip all our children with the knowledge and understanding of other peoples' beliefs, cultures, customs, traditions and race to become citizens of the world.
To do this more rigorously, we decided to use the power of picture books as they are able to portray the lives of our children and others in an accessible manner. It also meant that we could permeate the whole curriculum on a regular basis, emphasising to children the importance of such understanding.
As a staff we agreed that we wanted to use picture books to:
* develop positive feelings in all our pupils towards their cultural heritage from wherever this originates so that they feel confident
* develop their own sense of belonging and self-esteem
* enable our pupils to recognise the value of diversity within and between identities, groups and communities
* critically reflect on the shared and diverse values in society
* know our pupils better and therefore discover the true diversity within the classroom so that it can be celebrated.
Our first action was therefore to audit our stock of multicultural books within our library and classroom book corners. In categorising a book as 'multicultural' we examined its promotion of ethnic, racial and cultural diversity. We noted that our range of multicultural …