Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: Preschools that believe with the right foundation, anything is possible by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)
When the time comes to explain to your child what diversity means, focus on celebrating the differences between cultures and pointing out the exciting ways different cultures play, live and learn. By creating exciting tales, the concept of diversity will come alive for your child in a way that makes learning about other cultures a fun adventure.
For a preschooler, the concept of the world is limited to the things they encounter in their daily lives, such as home, church, school or daycare. One of the exciting jobs we have as parents is to spark the imaginations of our children and expand their view of the world by teaching them about the diversity of the world around them. Show your child different cultures through music, sports and appreciation of the different foods, celebrations and observances of cultures throughout the world.
By modeling this appreciation of different cultures, you are setting an example and helping your child to grow into a compassionate, caring adult who sees the value in our differences. A child who learns to embrace diversity is building character and learning to accept people for who they are.
Celebrate different cultures at home to begin teaching your child to appreciate diversity with these tips:
• Explore your family’s diverse history. Teach your children about your family history and explore the different characters who fill out the family tree. Show your children photos of each person and tell stories you remember about them.
• Discover culture through music. Play music that is specific to your region of the U.S., songs from your country of origin, or share favorite songs from your childhood. Help your child discover the differences and similarities between these songs and songs from other cultures.
• Learn diversity through reading. Stories abound about different family types, cultures and people around the world. Books are an excellent way to teach your child – they can explore the world and its diverse beauty from the comfort of their home. Focus on books with characters your child can identify with, such as It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr, The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf or Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World by Maya Ajmera and Anna Rhesa Versola.
• Get active in your community. Being active in your community will expose your child to many different cultures and beliefs. Embrace the uniqueness in each person and show your child how much we can learn from people who come from different walks of life. Museums, celebrations and ethnic restaurants can all contribute to your child’s education in diversity.
Exposing your child to new places, cultures and ideas can all help instill in them the compassion, caring and appreciation of others that will lead them to be successful, open-minded adults. The best way to teach your child diversity is to lead by example. Your appreciation will be contagious, teaching them all they need to know about seeing the beauty in individuals.