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The Village Ltd., a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is on a mission to transform Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) education. We aim to create a more equitable and inclusive society by developing research-based programs that counteract bias development in children from preschool to 12th grade. 

Our flagship program, The Firefly Kids™ I BElong!™ Series, ignites a revolution against bias development in young hearts. This groundbreaking initiative empowers PreK-Grade 3 students to embrace inclusivity, belonging, and equity from the very start. In pursuit of “true” equality, our programs tackle all forms of bias head-on, challenging prejudices related to race, gender, religion, ability, sexual identity, and family construct. By equipping young minds with the social emotional tools they need to navigate their ever changing environments, and dismantling harmful biases, The Village Ltd. aims to cultivate a more inclusive and equitable society where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

The Problem: Bias Development in Children
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Bias, a pervasive issue, undermines the principles of equity and inclusion. Even at a young age, children are exposed to societal norms, stereotypes, and biases that can shape their perceptions and attitudes. Traditional approaches to DEI fall short in addressing bias at its root, leading to persistent inequalities.

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The Research Science Behind the Product Section Header
Our Solution:  The Firefly Kids I BElong! Series
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The I BElong!™ Series is a groundbreaking, first in kind, program designed for early childhood education, that weaves inclusivity, belonging, and equity into its core. This research-backed program utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing from sociology, psychology, early education, behavioral and bias development, to create a year-round social-emotional learning experience. Engaging read-out-loud stories and playful activities immerse young minds throughout the entire school year, equipping them with the tools to navigate the world with empathy and understanding – a powerful foundation for a more equitable future.

Our program is designed to:

  • Address Bias Development: The I BElong!™ Series directly targets the root causes of bias by providing children with the social emotional toolbox to navigate their ever changing cultural landscape.

  • Promote Social-Emotional Skills: The program utilizes play and read-out-loud to develop essential social-emotional skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy.

  • Unlocking Individuality, Embracing Differences:  Our stories ignite a journey of self-discovery in children, nurturing their individual worth and identity. As their self-love blossoms, they develop a deep appreciation for the unique qualities in others, transforming differences from barriers into bridges of understanding and celebration.

  • Cultivate a Sense of Belonging: By creating a safe and inclusive interactive learning environment, the program helps children develop a strong sense of belonging and self-worth, regardless of their background or identity.

Our Approach: I BElong! Series Classroom Kit Section Header
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I BElong! Series Classroom Kit Components Section Header

Understanding that biases often take root during early childhood, The Village strategically focuses on this critical age group. Our year-round program utilizes immersive classroom kits, packed with engaging storybooks, activities, and educational toys. This "mesh scaffolding" fosters inclusivity, belonging, and equity (IBE) by equipping young minds with essential social-emotional and executive functioning skills. The Firefly Kids™ I BElong!™ Series operates on several key tactical fronts:

  • Research-Based Curriculum: The cornerstone lies in comprehensive, research-backed curricula developed in collaboration with experts in early childhood education, psychology, sociology, and bias/behavior development. This ensures the program's effectiveness in addressing bias and executive function development.

  • Immersive Classroom Kits: These kits, integrated into classrooms and preschools, offer a blend of teacher-led and independent activities, catering to diverse learning styles and fostering consistent active engagement.

  • Playful Learning: Educational toys and activities make learning fun and interactive, solidifying key concepts, encouraging executive skill development, and encouraging positive social interactions.

  • Storytelling Power: Engaging storybooks within the kits act as powerful tools for sparking discussions, fostering empathy, and challenging biases in a relatable and age-appropriate manner. This is where the Village Ltd. breaks ground:

    • Nine Child Protagonists: Instead of a single central character, the stories revolve around nine distinct child characters, each representing diverse backgrounds, abilities, and personalities. This intentional choice embodies equity right from the base, as children are more likely to identify and connect with a character who shares their own characteristics or experiences.

    • Shared Narrative: These nine characters navigate different situations and challenges together, learning and growing alongside each other. This collective journey reinforces valuable lessons about collaboration, acceptance, and celebrating differences.

Our Impact: A Bias-Free Future Section Header
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Classroom Kit Impact Infographic

By equipping a single classroom with the I Belong!™ Series, you ignite a spark of change. Each kit empowers on average 25 young minds annually to celebrate their identities, embrace differences, and foster a more inclusive learning environment. But the impact doesn't stop there. Over the 3-5 year lifespan of a single classroom kit, it can touch the lives of 75 to 150 students. With each additional kit distributed, we nurture a generation of empathetic and bias-free thinkers.

By supporting our program, you're nurturing a generation of empathetic and bias-free thinkers, one classroom at a time.

  • Unlock Potential in Every Student: We aim to provide free classroom kits to schools nationwide, ensuring every child benefits from this impactful program.

  • Multiply the Impact: Each kit empowers numerous students, creating a lasting ripple effect for future generations.

  • Measure Success: We'll conduct impact studies to analyze how the program fosters social-emotional skills and reduces bias.

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