“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”Author Unknown
Happy month of June! Summer is finally here, and the EEC is eager for more water play, messy art, and fun in the sun!
Please remember to refill cubbies with clothing appropriate for warmer weather! The children will probably be getting wet and will need multiple changes of clothes!
Last month the EEC shared some ways that we value and communicate cultural diversity in our classrooms. We hope that you found the resources useful as this month newsletter is an extension of a topic that parents have been curious about.
Why is diversity important?
Even from infancy, children begin to distinguish differences in gender, skin color, and race. Preschoolers are especially impressionable as they form identities while expressing interest in differences and similarities. Therefore, educators have a responsibility to teach young children to respect diversity and invite conversations around immature thinking that is typical of young children. Furthermore, exploring cultural diversity provides a healthy sense of who they are, so they can cultivate a strong sense of identity and belonging.
So, what does cultural diversity mean for the EEC educators?
Well, for the EEC it translates to an inclusive, safe, welcoming space where children and teachers can be themselves. Where they can feel and see a piece of themselves within their classroom such as artwork, pictures, and welcoming play spaces.
How do we as educators create a culturally diverse classroom?
The EEC teams have consistent conversations about the shared values within their classrooms. The children see their artwork displayed throughout the environment. Circle time is an extension of the conversations about home life, cultural traditions, and families. The teachers also invite families to share their songs, recipes, or games that reflect their traditions.
How can you support cultural diversity at home?
One of the simplest ways to engage in a conversation about diversity is to first reflect on personal experiences. Taking time to examine where our biases lie will help to inform the way we communicate with children about family values within diversity. Secondly, exploring culture, heritage, and backgrounds of friends, and community members will promote respect and value differences.
What activities can help to explore cultural diversity?
Here are some ideas for sparking interest and awareness in a gentle way:
- Read multicultural books.
- Go for a walk in your neighborhood to get to know your neighbors. This a great way to form relationships!
- Check your local communities (library, rec center etc.) to explore opportunities for engagement.
- Take field trips to local museums!
- Attend local festivals and farmers markets.
Follow up activities to assist in the conversation about cultural diversity.
- Play Dough Metaphor
o Prepare bundles of plain uncolored play dough and have children help knead food coloring in while talking about how the dough is all similar even though the colors are different. Relate this to how everyone on the inside has feelings and thoughts.
- Teach with M & M’s
o This metaphor is similar to the play dough example in that it shows that the different colors do not affect the quality of the inside.
- Self Portraits
- Listen to songs in different languages!
- Eat at a local ethnic restaurant.
We hope that you have found this post helpful! For more ideas around cultural diversity, please visit our resource tab.