Teaching Positive Acknowledgement of Diversity
At Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare we strongly believe that all children should be treated equally and that their cultural and linguistic diversity should be embraced, acknowledged, and celebrated. At Cherry Bridge Station we actively encourage our families to share their culture, languages, routines and experiences.
We believe that fostering healthy attitudes from the start will allow children to practice the acceptance and understanding that will accompany them on a lifetime of well-informed open-mindedness.
Children are not born with prejudices or preconceived ideas of equality, or how other people should treat one another. This is why they are our best hope for a fairer and more united future, where our diversities can be shared and enjoyed.
What exactly is diversity?
Diversity is a concept encompassing acceptance and respect for others, regardless of differences that may be evident with regard to race, ethnicity, language, gender or sexual orientation, social status, age, ability, and beliefs or ideologies. It is learning these human variations in a positive and safe environment, where such differences can be freely expressed and celebrated.
Diversity among young children
By raising awareness among young children, we can help our little ones to move themselves beyond simple tolerance. We can guide them into a life of approval, where they can embrace diversity, eliminating many prejudices and biases within our society. Children are influenced by what they see around them in their childcare centres, schools, homes and communities, and it is important to ensure children learn a healthy and respectful interest in other cultures from a young age. Research reveals that children begin to notice physical differences by the age of three or four and during this period, children recognise various ethnic differences and similarities as a part of their usual development process. They begin to innocently question these variations and seek clarification from caregivers and teachers for their acceptance and approval of these differences.
The role of parents and educators
Parents should acknowledge this awareness and must ensure their little learners know that these variations among us are healthily accepted and respected. They must be prepared to deal with their child’s questions and explore the reality that diversity, equality and anti-discriminatory issues are an important part of daily life. It is equally important for educators to communicate with children to support and develop their awareness and understanding.
Providing a bias-free environment
Whether at home or in a preschool environment, it is important to ensure children are playing and learning in an open and unbiased setting. If diversity issues or questions arise always use these opportunities to talk about positive attitudes of openness and inclusiveness. We should also use stories, books, dolls, photos, animations, colouring games and any other appropriate resources available, to explain and embrace our wonderfully diverse world.