Literature Honoring the Lives of All Children

By Brian Johnson, Diversity Director

As a Diversity Director, I am frequently asked to recommend resources for teachers, students, and parents. One resource that is requested frequently is a book list of diverse literature. I recently came across several that were highly recommended to me by Elizabeth Denevi, Associate Director of th Eastern Educational Resource Collaborative, a nonprofit that works with schools nationally to increase equity and promote diversity pedagogy.

  • List put together by Elizabeth Denevi and librarian Elisa Gall
  • We're the People list (This list, compiled by a group of librarians, has a particularly good selection of Young Adult books.)
  • WNDB lists of diverse books (WNDB, or We Need Diverse Books, is a nonprofit, grassroots organization that advocates changes in the publishing industry to produce literature that honors the lives of all young people.)
  • A list with a strong social justice focus (compiled by Sarah Park Dahlen, associate professor in the Master's of Library and Information Science Program at St. Catherine University in Minnesota.   
  • Welcoming Schools lists of books on family diversity and gender identity/expression/stereotypes (Welcoming Schools provides training and resources to elementary school educators to welcome diverse families, create LGBTQ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.)

Happy Reading!



Register Now for Camp TPS

Looking for the perfect summer camp experience for your child?  Check out the Camp TPS website, and learn about the wide variety of fun and exciting  activities available for children in preschool through high school.

Student Council Drive

The first Student Council Helping Hands drive of the year has ended, and – drumroll please – the fourth and fifth graders in Junior Unit C donated the most hats, gloves, scarves, and granola bars to the Bethesda Project and the Attic Youth Center.

Thank you to everyone for helping to make the drive such a huge success - we collected more than 500 boxes of granola bars and more than 200 hats and scarves. In addition, Primary D handmade four beautiful blankets and many scarves. Special thanks to parents Caren Cohen, Kelly Davis, and Beth Lundy for making deliveries to Bethesda and the Attic.

The Plays Are the Thing

Just before winter break, 8th graders began preparation for February's Shakespeare Festival. 

The festival will run from February 21 to 23.  The Class of 2018 will be staging three of the bard's plays – The TempestMuch Ado About Nothing, and Romeo and Juliet. Not only will they be actors, they will also design the sets, make props, and do the costuming. Each play will have daytime and evening performances.



TPS Preschool Hair Shop

The Phoenixes and Griffins preschool groups expressed a great deal of curiosity about the hair on their heads while drawing self-portraits earlier this fall. After revisiting a favorite book, Natasha Tarpley’s I Love My Hair!, and hearing a new story, Michael Strickland’s Haircuts at Sleepy Sam’s, the children decided to set up the TPS Hair Shop. They created a list of items we’d need to open our very own shop. (Ask your children what they suggested!) The list included cardboard for doors, pretend scissors, capes, hair dryers and spray, an envelope for money (to pay the stylist, of course), and the iconic "swirly barbershop pole."

This week the children hosted two very special “guest experts”  as part of their Hair Shop project. Jack and Louis’s mom, Lisa, joined us to talk about her work as a dermatologist. She showed us a special tool — a lighted dermatoscope — used to magnify her patients’ hair. Your children were so curious and eager to look through the dermatoscope themselves. We learned about conditions such as alopecia, and Lisa shared images of children who look a little different because their bodies have trouble growing hair. She reassured us that those same kids live very happy lives, and sometimes grow up to be NBA basketball players!

On Thursday our own Keisha Smith (administrative assistant in the early childhood building) shared her expertise in hair-braiding. Keisha has a cosmetology degree and, using our classroom mannequin, demonstrated techniques and products that are used specifically for African American hair. She showed us how to smooth the hair using coconut oil, then part the hair, and create cornrows and braids (or plaits). Many of us tried braiding our own hair as we watched Keisha at work!

Earlier in the week a special client stopped by the Hair Shop for some TLC. Athletic Director Bart received the best of hair care!

Preschoolers and Anansi Stories

The Unicorns and Dragons – two of our preschool groups – have been reading stories about Anansi the spider, a classic trickster of folklore. Anansi stories originated in Ghana and are now enjoyed worldwide.

The preschoolers  acted out a hilarious version of "Why Spiders Have a Thin Waist." A bed pillow with eight stuffed legs became our Anansi spider. In his greedy haste to attend two festival feasts on the same day, Anansi's sons each pulled on a rope tied around his waist to signal the start of the feasts. In the blink of an eye, our pillow spider developed a tiny, pinched waist. The classroom erupted in uproarious laughter and one preschooler commented that Anansi now looks like a floppy-eared bunny.