Cultural Diversity in Childcare

Blog Image for article Cultural Diversity in Childcare

Our society is about as multicultural as it can possibly be. Everywhere you go, there is another culture to honour - it makes sense to integrate that into Early Childhood Education and Care, exposing children to as many cultures as early as possible. Not just to teach tolerance but to excite and ignite a passion in a world that is beyond their own yards.

Cultural diversity in childcare is of course only one aspect. It also embraces different genders, abilities and ages as well as social, and economic backgrounds - so much to celebrate, so many opportunities to learn and plenty of ways to integrate amazingly diverse cultures into care. 

Multicultural celebrations

We're yet to find a child that is opposed to dressing up. In fact, we're certain that if we walked into a childcare centre with a bunch of dress-ups, we'd have a fight on our hands trying to keep the children out of them, excited for the opportunity. And that's great! Hosting dress up days where children get to dress in their traditional clothing, discuss their backgrounds, the celebrations they attend when wearing their outfits is going to be a wonderful, colourful day of fun learning.

Of course, it doesn't have to stop with traditional clothing, depending on the centre policies around sharing foods, you might like to check in and see if you can bring a plate along. Food is a wonderful way to bring people together and, who knows, you could end up with anything from a plate of pizza through to an Indian butter chicken - delish!

Image: Kids On Clarence, Indooroopilly                                                                                                         Image: Care for Kids family celebrating Diwali

Championing Cultural backgrounds through staff

Tolerance and understanding of a multicultural society is best learnt through exposure, and what better way to expose children than through the staff at your early childhood service. After all, these kids look up to everything their trusted adults do and we find more often that not, children mimic the behvaiour of adults around them - every parent understands this by not having a moment, (even on the loo) to themselves!

Rosemary, Approved Provider and Nominated Supervisor from Kids On Clarence, has an incredible team around her and has told us that, "Having staff from different cultural backgrounds makes the children more tolerant, accepting and helps build resilience in preparing them for the diversity of the wider community." 

Rosemary also highlights that staff members often sing to the children in other languages, exposing them to not only visual cultural differences but also linguistics. "Through language, song and even children bringing their cultural foods from home to eat amongst each other, exposes the children to the world around them and develops positive attitudes to different cultures." 

Celebrating diversity with books

With such an emphasis on learning through language, literature is yet another way to bring out the best of our diverse community. To help parents and carers teach children about tolerance and learning about phyical differences, a great book to check out is 'My family doesn't look like your family' by Tenielle Stoltenkamp. This colourful book is aimed at children from four-years-old to seven-years old, removing 'roles, race and gender' and celebrates diversity through counting. 

'The colours of us' - Karen Katz is another incredibly heartfelt book which has been dubbed 'A positive and affirming look at skin color, from an artist's perspective.' Truly, a lovely story for young preschoolers. 

Special mention to Rosemary and the Kids On Clarence team for their efforts and input to bring this article to life.

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