Tanglen classroom represents authentic inclusivity

Two kindergarten girls wearing hijabs pose with two dolls wearing hijabs.

Every spring, Tanglen kindergarten teacher Kate Marston drops her classroom dolls off at the Hopkins Activity Center for the Dress a Dolly program. A group of volunteers clean them up, sew brand new clothes, and have them ready in the fall. 

When Kate Marston picked up the dolls for her classroom this fall, she noticed something better than anything she had anticipated. Two of the dolls were wearing hijabs.

“I wasn’t expecting that because I hadn’t seen it from them in the past but I was really excited and when I showed my kids the dolls they just lit up, they were so excited about it,” Marston said.

Her students are all very eager to play with the dolls, especially her students who wear hijabs. They gravitate toward the dolls who look like them and any doll they choose, they’ll dress up in a hijab.

“It’s just really powerful for them and they are able to see themselves reflected in what they are playing with and just feel more apart of our classroom,” Marston said.

Hopkins is going from Great to World Class through its Vision 2031 strategic plan. As part of that work, we have embraced six core values, including authentic inclusivity. Ensuring that all of our kids are represented in everything from the curriculum to the items in the classroom is a powerful reminder that we all belong in Hopkins. This Tanglen kindergarten classroom is a shining example of how we are living our values.