Teaching children to celebrate diversity

Brent from The Children’s Workshop discusses the importance of celebrating diversity with your children:

January has always been the month for us to celebrate diversity, but it is very important that we teach our kids that we can and should celebrate diversity no matter what month of the year it is. There are many different things we can do to teach our children about diversity.

As adults and educators, we must take situations that are presented to us by our kids to teach them to celebrate differences. For a deeper look inside diversity and anti-bias education, please visit the resources mentioned throughout this article.

As parents or teachers, sometimes we shy away from our kids asking questions about why another person looks different from them or celebrates a different holiday than them. These are excellent moments that we can use to teach our kids. It is very important to avoid stereotypes when discussing with your child. Our children follow the behavior that we model, so it is critical that we teach them to value others who are different from them. Here are some tips on teaching our children how to celebrate diversity.

Using Books & Online Resources:

  • There are many different books and online resources that can help educate children about diversity, inclusion, and respect for others. There are books that explain different kind of family situation, as well. All Kinds of Families, by Mary Ann Hoberman, helps explain blended and “nontraditional” families. It’s a Small World by Disney has a book, a CD with the song, as well as an activity book that can help teach children about different cultures throughout the world. Visit your local library and speak with your librarian about other fun, informative books on the subject!

Online Resources:

Using Crafts:

  • Whether you are teaching in a classroom, or you are part of a playgroup, literature from Martin Luther King Jr. can be very useful on teaching togetherness and respect for one another. You could look through many magazines or newspapers to find people who look different. You can help your preschooler cut them out or if they are older they can cut them out themselves. They can then paste them on a board to create a diversity collage, which can also help them visualize what coming together may look like. As an educator, having your students make a family collage and bring them in to discuss with the class can be a great way to celebrate each child’s family – traditional or blended.
  • Martin Luther King Jr: January 15th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day – You can use all sorts of books, like The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore, to introduce his legacy and importance to your child. From there you can use countless other books, poems, songs, and videos to teach them about acceptance and diversity.

Other Tips:

  • Focus on creating positive sense of self and respectful understanding
  • Practice perspective-taking
  • Cultural Empathy
  • Utilize online resources and blogs

What is Anti-Bias Education?: “Early childhood educators have deep faith in the principle that all people deserve the opportunities and resources to fulfill their complete humanity. Moreover, we have a unique role in making this principle real, in promoting all children’s chances to thrive and to succeed in school, in work, and in life. A basic principle in early childhood work is that when educators treat children as if they are strong, intelligent, and kind, children are far more likely to behave in strong, intelligent, kind ways. They are more likely to learn and thrive and succeed.” –naeyc.org

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