Submitted by Sarah Morris on behalf of Primrose Schools – preschools that make a difference in your child’s education.
Celebrating Diversity as a Family
Explaining the concept of diversity to a child can be difficult for any parent. However, pointing out all of the wonders of different cultures and making the learning experience enjoyable and dynamic can make imparting this essential lesson fun for both you and your children.
Because of their more sheltered environment, children of preschool age are likely to have a relatively limited view of the world. To them, their family and school environment are their universe for the most part. Ensuring that your child is able to broaden his or her horizons through wildlife adventures, music lessons, and sports can make a great deal of difference when it comes to explaining how big the world really is. It is important that your child begin to understand, from an early age, that the world is full of different places and peoples representing all kinds of backgrounds and cultures.
Without a doubt, instilling diversity appreciation in your children will help them to grow as individuals and members of their current and future communities. Understanding and appreciating both their own culture as well as those of others will help them in all of their future endeavors and will go a long way in forming them into compassionate and accepting adults.
The following are several tips that will help you to teach your children about different cultures and the importance of diversity:
Discuss the History of Your Family
Before it is possible to understand and appreciate other peoples, it is essential that children develop an appreciation and pride for their own familial history. Showing and discussing family photos is a great way to familiarize your children with their ancestry. Children always enjoy stories so make sure to tell anecdotes about each of your relatives, ones that are enjoyable and easy to remember.
Listen to Music Together
A great way to share the heritage of your family with your children is through music. Playing your favorite childhood songs and/or songs from the country where your family originates are both great choices. Gradually, introduce other types of music from areas all over the world. Discussing both the differences and similarities between the different types of music with your children will help them to understand how they fit into the world around them.
Along with listening to music, reading to your child is one of the best ways to instill in them an appreciation for other cultures. Discussing different stories and characters is an excellent basis for further conversations regarding diversity, as books are able to bring other cultures to life. Keep an eye out for books that feature characters that your children can relate to. Some great books to introduce to your children include:
- The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf
- It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
- Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World by Maya Ajmera and Anna Rhesa Versola
Take part in different cultural events with your children- festivals, parades, restaurants, and museums are all great ways to develop pride for their own background or introduce them to other lifestyles and customs. Also, take advantage of friends from differing backgrounds and expose your children to their traditions and cuisine on a regular basis.