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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Celebrate Diversity with Your Preschooler - A guest post

Celebrate Diversity with Your Preschooler

Submitted by Emily Patterson and behalf of Primrose Schools: The best in preschool education.

A preschooler’s concept of the world is relatively small and concrete, limited primarily to their family, neighborhood and school. While explain the concept of "diversity" to your young child might feel like a complex lesson, by starting these lessons at an early age you can help make it a little more natural.

Help your child expand their world view by learning about different cultures through music, sports and even wildlife around the world. You will help spark your child’s understanding of the vast size and rich texture of our global community.

“We live in a diverse world. By teaching children to appreciate other cultures from an early age, you will help them develop compassion and seek out shared values,” said Dr. Mary Zurn (V.P. of education for Primrose Schools). “Encourage a celebration of cultures near and far, including your own, to help your child grow to be an accepting, compassionate adult, who values the differences in others.”

Here's a few tips to teach your child about diversity by celebrating cultures at home:
Share Your Family History. Understanding others begins with an understanding of oneself. Show pictures of family members and talk about each person. Children love and remember stories, so share a favorite story or something you personally remember about that person. This builds a child’s awareness of family history and culture.

Have a Theme Night. Have your child choose a country on a map, or just one that interests them and make a themed night around it. Play music from their culture, play games that children there play, get accents going, and cook food that is popular in their culture. Ask your child to identify the similarities and differences.

Read a Book. Reading to a child is one of the best ways to introduce them to different types of families, children and people from all over the world. Characters and storylines are great starting points for discussions on diversity as they can make a culture come to life. Look for books that have characters your child can identify with even though they may have different customs. Some suggestions include:
• It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
• The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf

Think Outside the Box. Seek out opportunities for your child to interact with children from different countries and cultures. By completely immersing your children in the environment, it's easier for them to relate and understand. Getting to know families that are different from your own can increase your family’s appreciation of cultural similarities and differences. Visit museums, festivals, ethnic restaurants and other places that will help your child learn about various customs, cultures and lifestyles.

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