Explaining the concept of “diversity” to your young child might feel like a complex lesson. By focusing on celebrating cultural differences, you can make an important lesson fun and natural.
A preschooler’s concept of the world is relatively small and concrete, limited primarily to their family, neighborhood and school. Help your child expand their world view by learning about different cultures through music, sports and even wildlife around the world. You will help spark your child’s understanding of the vast size and rich texture of our global community.
Living in the diverse world that we do, teaching children to appreciate other cultures is vital. By teaching our children compassion at an early age we can only encourage the celebration of diversity and different cultures, and develop them into more accepting individuals and help them values others differences.
Here's a few tips for parents to help teach your child about diversity by celebrating cultures at home:
Share Your Family History. Understanding others begins with an understanding of oneself. Show pictures of family members and talk about each person. Children love and remember stories, so share a favorite story or something you personally remember about that person. This builds a child’s awareness of family history and culture.
Listen to Music. Share your family’s cultural heritage through music. Play music from your family’s country of origin, your region of the United States, or favorite songs you sang as a child. Then play music from other cultures or parts of the country. Ask your child to identify the similarities and differences.
Read a Book. Reading to a child is one of the best ways to introduce them to different types of families, children and people from all over the world. Characters and storylines are great starting points for discussions on diversity as they can make a culture come to life. Look for books that have characters your child can identify with even though they may have different customs. Some suggestions include:
• 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
• The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf
Think Outside the Box. Seek out opportunities for your child to interact with children from different countries and cultures. Getting to know families that are different from your own can increase your family’s appreciation of cultural similarities and differences. Visit museums, festivals, ethnic restaurants and other places that will help your child learn about various customs, cultures and lifestyles.
Submitted by Emily Patterson a writer on early educational preschool services and topics. Emily has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.