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Inclusion and Creating a Welcoming Environment

Inclusion is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.” We all want to feel included and part of a group, team, classroom, or work environment. We want to feel welcome because it helps to create a positive, productive situation.

Janice Wyatt-Ross focuses on “six strategies for building the strong relationships with students that are the heart of a culturally inclusive classroom community” in her article “A Classroom Where Everyone Feels Welcome“. While these are intended primarily for a classroom, several of the strategies have value in the NPS. They can be incorporated for use with student groups and visitors, as well as how we relate to one another as team members.

“It’s imperative that students and teachers know each other beyond the subjective cultural experiences that each may bring to the classroom, and that educators possess an understanding of diverse cultures but not stereotype people into a one-size-fits-all cultural mold. Students need to be related to as full, complex, multidimensional people.”

Reflection and Questions

  • How could the ideas from the quote above be utilized to improve park education programs, student visitor experiences, and the development of Junior Ranger books?
  • Grab a sheet of scrap paper. List the six strategies in the order of most to least importance in regards to your particular park. Then answer the following questions:
    • Which two strategies ranked in the top two of your list and explain why you ranked them that way.
    • Which two strategies ranked in the bottom of your list and explain why you ranked them that way.
    • How could your park build relationships with local schools?
    • If your park already has an established relationship with local schools, how could it be improved upon?

This brief video about creating a welcoming environment may also help to inspire you.

Citation

Wyatt-Ross, Janice. “A Classroom Where Everyone Feels Welcome”. Edutopia, 28 June 2018.

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