Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First grade teacher creates film to challenge children's myths about disability

Cambridge, Mass., Friends School first grade teacher, Maggie Doben, has been working with early childhood students to help them to explore and understand physical disabilities as part of an anti-bias curriculum. Now she has produced and directed a film about teaching young children about disability called "Labeled Disabled."

According to the film's Web site, Doben found that even young children already have stereotypes and discriminatory behaviors about disability. She developed curriculum in which the children learn all about physical disability and meet people with a wide variety of disabilities so they learn what are biases and stereotypes and what are the real experiences of people with disabilities.

"Labeled Disabled" illustrates how the "children's understandings are transformed as they participate in carefully designed lessons and engage in opportunities to meet and learn from disabled role models in their community. They are able to express their feelings about disability as they collect new information and deepen their knowledge."

The film will have its first screening 2 p.m. May 31, 2008 at the Watertown Public Library in
Watertown, Mass. You can watch a trailer here.