There are many fun ways to celebrate diversity with young children. Research shows that young children see differences in people at an early age. Helping children to respect diversity in the classroom goes beyond what we can see, hear, or taste, such as food, art, music, costumes and customs. It involves giving attention, placing value and priority on the people that make up our families, our communities and our world. Celebrating and honoring diversity encourages us to explore and discover the dignity in each person; every child, woman and man.
Celebrating and honoring diversity means to…
Develop true compassion for others.
Involve families in regular activities in order to support the home-school connection.
Validate the different stories of the human experience through sharing.
Expand children’s horizons about themselves and others.
Remember to actively listen to children’s perceptions and ideas.
Support children’s discovery of their self-identity.
Initiate conversations that encourage open and productive dialogue.
Transmit a deep level of respect for each child and their families.
Yearn for more understanding even when the differences may seem like a lot.
“Our young children must be taught…beneath the skin, beyond the differing features and into the true heart of being, fundamentally, we are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou
One of the core values of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) code of Ethical Conduct & Statement of Commitment states to “recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society.” NAEYC’s definition of culture includes ethnicity, racial identity, economic level, family structure, language, and religious and political beliefs which deeply influence each child’s development and relationship to the world. Children spend many hours awake and ready to play in child care facilities. Creating exciting opportunities throughout the day so that children can learn about diversity is an important part of their growth and development.
NAEYC – Responding to Linguistic and Cultural Diveristy