“I want our kids to understand the diversity of indigenous tribes and that they’re not one monolithic group of peoples,” Sarah Caputo, art & multimedia coordinator at Positive Tomorrows, said.
Mrs. Sarah oversees a cultural and diversity curriculum that can be implemented in our classrooms and extracurricular activities throughout the school year. This November, we are using that curriculum to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.
This month, students are reading “Rabbit Plants the Forest” by Cherokee author Deborah Duvall who lives in Tahlequah. From this book, students will learn elements of the Cherokee language and will create artwork inspired by the book.
Mrs. Sarah, who serves on the board of Inclusion in Art, a nonprofit focused on bringing diversity and inclusion into the arts in Oklahoma, was inspired to work on developing a cultural curriculum that could be used across all classrooms and throughout the year.
She utilizes many sources for material including organizations like PBS, the site ColoursofUs.com, and Oklahoma A+ Schools. She also gets direct feedback from Positive Tomorrows’ teachers about topics or people they would like to cover.
Many of the books in Positive Tomorrows’ Literacy Lab (the library) and Mrs. Sarah’s own art & multimedia library come from these same sources. Mrs. Sarah and our Director of Education, Amy Brewer, work closely to make sure the books in the library represent a wide diversity for all students.
Mrs. Sarah also likes to research people and events that can incorporate experiential, hands-on learning components. For example, this month, she is focusing on a drumming and storytelling project where she will even incorporate our kiddos’ mentors into the activities. There will also be a morning assembly dedicated to student projects based on what they have been learning throughout the month.
“Especially in a state like Oklahoma, it is vital for our kids to learn about the history and culture of indigenous tribes,” Mrs. Sarah said. “It helps our students engage with their community that has these strong ties to indigenous peoples, and for some of our kiddos, it helps them celebrate their own family’s heritage and culture.”
View our Native American Heritage Month curriculum.