Educators have the opportunity to play an important role in the development a young child’s understanding of culture and human differences. By creating a learning environment that features culturally relevant and diverse products and programming, early childhood educators can provide children with the space to explore cultural differences and similarities.
3 Opportunities to Better Represent Culture in Your Classroom
Representing culture in the classroom shouldn’t center around “celebration” days. Instead, early childhood educators can focus on more natural and inclusive ways to share about, learn from, and experience cultures already represented in the classroom.
Encourage Families to Share & Participate
Each child comes from their own family culture and background. Consider reaching out to the most natural source for valuable cultural information: the families and caregivers of the students in your class. They may be interested in sharing with you and your students.
Actively seeking out opportunities for children to hear about the culture of other students in the class can be a step towards celebrating differences. Students can begin to see many of the ways in which they are similar to each other, but also appreciate and understand more about the world’s vast cultural diversity.
Create a Multicultural Classroom: Tools & Supplies
Offering a number of books and supplies that are representative of differing cultures can give students a chance to see that unique appearances, choices, traditions, and languages are all a part of being human.
Manipulatives, books, and supplies can all help to represent human differences during these key years when young children are learning to identify aspects of themselves and the people around them. Everything from variations in skin color to gender and food choices can be represented in a positive and engaging way.
Challenge Biased Attitudes and Language in the Classroom
Children naturally begin to ask questions about differences between themselves and the people around them by around the age of three. For early childhood educators, it’s important to step in and to discourage the expression of biased language, attitudes, or actions.
Early childhood educators play a role in discouraging biases and stereotyping early on. Instead of scolding young children for simply verbalising or acting on biases, educators can explain why it’s important not to use bias and stereotypes to categorize others. Taking the time to explain may require patience and repetition, but students can begin to see how their perspectives and biases may negatively affect those around them.
More Early Childhood Inspiration & Ideas
To find more ways to engage and inspire early childhood learners, be sure to visit the Early Childhood category page and see what’s new. Check out the online store where you’ll find thousands of teacher favorite products and classroom supplies. Make this year stand out and get your students moving and engaged in new ways with the right tools from School Specialty.