Infants as young as 6 months can begin to distinguish differences in physical characteristics, such as skin colors, hair textures and facial features. As kids grow, they notice even more individual traits that make people unique, and they will become aware of how they are alike and unique from their family and peers.
In the melting pot of America, there are many different cultures represented. Parents and teachers might think that diversity education happens naturally through this exposure in schools and in communities. But parent leadership to discuss real issues, such as cultural diversity, is critical during childhood development. So why is it so essential to discuss diversity while children are still young? Consider these top reasons:
The future is global: For kids to thrive and become respectful global citizens, it's necessary to teach appreciation for other cultures, races, religions and life perspectives. Technology is making the world smaller in many ways; cultural appreciation is essential.
Respect is universal: Teaching diversity helps kids learn respect while helping them get along with others. Respect on the elementary school playground can blossom into respect in the classroom and future workplace.
Well-rounded children prosper: Learning about diversity helps kids broaden their viewpoint of the world and become well-rounded adults. This provides them the ability to appreciate differences rather than view them as a negative.
Convinced? It's easy to understand why diversity education is important, but difficult to teach. Fortunately, there are three easy things you can do right now to enhance cultural appreciation in your home or classroom.
1. Talk about differences
Kids will notice differences and ask questions. Even if you aren't sure what to say, tell them you need to think about it and talk to them later. Children may interpret a lack of response to mean that it's not acceptable to talk about differences or that the differences they noticed are negative.
2. Explore other cultures
Instead of going out for burgers, try cooking authentic cultural dishes at home. Look at the calendar and talk about different holidays that you don't currently celebrate and consider attending a local event. Listen to cultural music or visit a cultural museum. Have a diversity adventure!
3. Take language courses
Enroll kids in Language Stars classes and they'll learn a second language from native speakers that represent more than 20 countries. The program's FunImmersion® approach to learning uses games, cultural teachings and spirited songs to strengthen language retention and cognitive development while building cultural awareness.