The world we live in today is more diverse and accepting of different cultures from different parts of the globe. We immerse ourselves with other people and cultures every day, which has become the norm. From eating different dishes from various cultures and countries to watching films and interacting with different people daily, our daily lives have been more diverse than ever.
Your child will eventually encounter a variety of cultures, races, abilities, and beliefs as they grow up. And once school starts, they will meet other kids with different cultural backgrounds and from other walks of life. The question is, how will your child treat people whose appearance and traditions differ from what they’re used to?
This is where diversity and inclusion for kids come into play. After all, teaching them these values at an early age molds them into compassionate, loving, and accepting individuals. It’s up to parents and teachers to show children how compassion and acceptance work.
This article discusses the best practices in teaching diversity to preschoolers and the benefits of a culturally diverse setting to their overall development.
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom
Did you know that children as young as six months can already tell if something is different around them?
Parents often think children don’t know how to differentiate qualities from one another, but research shows this is a common misconception. In fact, at around ages two to three, your child can already notice differences and voice their observations. For example, when they see someone with different hair than theirs, they notice and start to categorize people in their heads.
It shows that, at a young age, your child picks up lifelong habits and the ability to distinguish similarities and differences. Given this, early childhood is the ideal time to introduce your child to the importance of diversity and inclusion.
These early conversations are vital to building the foundations for their empathy and acceptance. If your child knows and understands that being different is a positive thing and not something inherently bad, they will open themselves more to people whose backgrounds differ from theirs.
Moreover, exposing them to various cultures sharpens their awareness and fosters a sense of appreciation for other traditions.
Tips for Teaching Kids About Diversity
Now that you know the advantages of diversity and inclusion for kids, it’s time to put things into practice. After all, cultivating this behavior often begins at home.
Here are a few strategies to help you teach these critical values to your children.
Keep Things Age-Appropriate
The first step in teaching kids about diversity is opening conversations about it. When talking to your child, explain things in a manner they can easily understand. It doesn’t mean sugarcoating things. Instead, make sure to discuss these matters in a way preschoolers can easily understand. It also helps to give real-life examples that they can relate to when illustrating your points.
Create a Safe Space for Discussions
As mentioned earlier, it’s a common misconception among parents that children are blind to differences. So instead of ignoring them, fostering a safe and open environment to talk about these topics is better.
These conversations provide excellent learning opportunities for kids to become more accepting of other people’s unique qualities.
Set a Good Example
Kids often take behaviors they see in their parents. Since they are easily impressionable, your actions can influence how they treat people who are different from them. So even if you discuss cultural diversity, you should lead by example and apply them in everyday situations yourself.
As their role models, you must practice what you preach. When you treat everyone with respect and acceptance, your child will do the same to others.
Read Children’s Books With Diverse Characters
Want a compelling way to promote diversity and inclusion for kids? Grab culturally diverse books for their next reading sessions!
Reading books is an excellent way to engage your child with a wide range of cultural experiences through vivid imagery, intriguing characters, and memorable storylines. Choose materials written by culturally diverse authors to make the most of this learning tool. You can start with some Spanish children’s books to start this adventure!
Utilize the Power of Play
Use play times to your advantage by introducing diverse toys to your kids. As we all know, play is an effective learning tool for essential life skills and inclusive behavior. Visual learners can also benefit from this method of teaching diversity to preschoolers.
When playing with these toys, engage your child by asking questions, opening discussions about the toys’ features, and emphasizing the positive uniqueness of their attributes.
Talk About Cultural Traditions at Home
Tap into your child’s fun-loving nature using cultural holidays. It’s a fantastic way to ease them into appreciating other people’s traditions and accepting diversity in an enjoyable manner.
The next time your child becomes curious about a certain cultural occasion (e.g., Cinco de Mayo), use this opportunity to indulge their curiosity. You can also explore online resources to aid you in explaining these special occasions and festivities to your child.
Cultivate Respect and Empathy
While teaching children about diversity, it’s important to treat them as active and capable learners rather than passive receivers of information. They are more likely to take in your lessons positively if you extend the same respect you have for others to your child.
Moreover, just like with language skills, your child learns best when they take charge of their learning experience. Thus, as parents, you can provide them with plenty of opportunities and tools to engage with other cultures.
Nurture Respect for Diversity in Preschool
A culturally diverse world calls upon the need for inclusion. Learning these values at home helps your child embrace other cultures with openness and acceptance. Complement your teachings at home by enrolling your child in culturally immersive preschools like Rayito de Sol.
As a NAEYC-accredited institution, Rayito de Sol celebrates cultural diversity through its immersive curriculum for preschool kids taught in Spanish. This setting exposes your child to the cultures of Spanish-speaking nations while making them school-ready/honing their basic skills before formal schooling.