We are so fortunate to raise children in a world rich in culture and diversity. There is diversity in every corner of our society from the different foods we consume, the music we appreciate, languages we speak, clothes and style we portray. Preschool is a great time to develop this cultural awareness. Preschoolers learn through seeing and touching tangible objects, hearing different voices and sounds, and listening to compelling stories. When approaching the subject of cultural diversity we can begin by sharing these similarities and differences.
Preschoolers will have a chance to discover and explore differences and similarities amongst their peers, teachers, families, and surroundings. As teachers, we have the opportunity to show that even though you may look, speak, and eat differently than your friend you’re both equal and a beautiful contribution to diversity. We think it’s fun to teach these concepts in simple ways by emphasizing similarities and differences found today rather than tracking back in time and studying culture and diversity through history lessons. The concept is easier for a child between the ages of 2-5 to learn lessons of today and can be taught through history lessons later in their development.
Our teachers approach cultural awareness through the study of simple themes. We may look at different costumes from hats, and shawls, to shoes or listen to various styles of music from Africa to Japan. We invite cultural exchange through sharing and often times ask parents and children to bring in symbolic or meaningful examples from home to discuss with friends at school. We love talking about similar foods that are known throughout the world, such as Corn, Rice, and Bread. We invite parents to let their children try examples of these foods in recipes from different cultures.
Some other exciting units of study that help us explore this topic are different toys, favorite pets, instruments, dance, and birthday celebrations! Diversity and culture are great subjects to explore at this age and we have all sorts of fun ideas and ways to explore this!