Embrace Diversity

Diversity: It’s worth the work.

At Friends Center for Children, embracing diversity is not just an abstract concept or idea, it is a principle we intentionally put into practice in all aspects of our program. Our commitment to racial, socio-economic and developmental diversity informs all aspects of our program, including admissions, financial aid, curriculum, policies and systems.

Amelie felt apprehensive. She had been attending Friends Center for more than a year, but this morning she would be walking further down the hall to a new space, a preschool class where the landscape was less familiar. Karina, who had transitioned to the same class just weeks earlier, saw her friend hesitate in the entry. Without a word, Karina took Amelie’s hand and walked together toward the new door.

At Friends Center, we nurture an intentionally diverse community, which means cultivating empathy and understanding is essential for us to thrive. We work to encourage children as they discover connections and create bonds of understanding. Finding common ground gives us solid footing to celebrate our differences.

Building connections. Cultivating empathy.
“Because I am a T-rex today.”

They study the mirror, carefully observing their faces. A special selection of art materials — crayons and pencils in an array of tones for flesh and eyes and hair — allows them to express their self-reflections literally or with creative flare. One girl states “I need black for my eyes;” another boy chooses red for his irises, describing himself as a dragon. Another preschooler — one who regularly visits the self-portrait station and creates rather detailed likenesses — at times will draw himself with tiny arms, explaining with simple certainty, “because I am a T-rex today.” In addition to observing self, the portrait stations are one way that the children at Friends Center become more curious about each other — making correlations of physical similarities and expressing curiosity about the differences. This curiosity becomes the foundation for learning about others and our relationship with self and others.