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Your child is exposed to growing diversity every day, and because they spend most of their time at their daycare center, what better place to teach them about tolerance than at preschool. There are many activities that involve breaking the barriers and teaching your child about tolerance – as no doubt they will be exposed to diversity beyond their daycare years.
GENERAL TIPS FOR DAYCARE TOLERANCE
To teach tolerance at daycare, break down the stereotypes that form part of intolerance and prejudicial thinking. In this way, your child will be able to appreciate diversity without different cultures, races, religions and people being misunderstood. Teach your child that a woman does not necessarily have to wear a dress and have long hair, or stay at home and look after the children. The same is true for some male stereotypes – some men do wear dresses due to religious dress codes and stay-at-home-dads are a growing trend. Remember to also emphasize that it is possible for their friend to have two mommies or two daddies as well. With regards to different races, explain to your little one that there are many people in the world and not all of us look the same – talk about differences in hair, skin and eye color, language, and how different traits of each race is unique and should be celebrated and valued. The gist is to open a dialogue where your child will begin to appreciate and understand the different children that they are friends with now, as well as the different cultures and people that they will one day work and interact with.
DAYCARE ACTIVITIES TO HELP TEACH TOLERANCE
Teaching tolerance is not something that can be read from a book, or something that should only be observed on special days of the year. Teaching tolerance through regular, fun activities is the best way to teach little ones about diversity – include it in their everyday existence and tolerance will become part of our DNA. Here are some tips to help you along:
- Excursions. Go out into the world by arranging a visit to a parent’s workplace, a cultural heritage site, or simply take the kids for a walk in a diverse area or community. It is not so much our talking, but rather real experiences, that will help our children understand and internalize differences
- Let the community come to your child’s daycare as well. Have some regular visitors like representatives from homeless shelters, charities, and different faiths come to the daycare. Parents from different backgrounds can also visit once a while to talk about their days, their experiences and just to have a light chat
- Pair the kids’ curriculum with diverse groups, for a holistic and integrated experience. Have them do a project on a home for retirees by visiting the home, talking with seniors and then have them draw a picture of what they saw on their outing
- Create diversity in the classroom and school halls. According to Professor Francis Wardle, Ph.D., from the University of Phoenix, the main reason why children and people feel left out in any environment is because they do not see people who look like themselves or their family around them. To ameliorate this, opt for posters and pictures that celebrate a diversity of people, not just one kind of race – remember a diversity is best, as your child has to see themselves, as well as others, being “acknowledged” by the world (their daycare center). This means that if there are any pictures, these should be of black, white, Indian, Chinese, and many other races – as long as these are diverse.
- Do a hair, skin and dress-up activity, where your child can learn about the different skin tones, hair textures and styles, and diversity in clothes in different cultures. Buy knee-high stockings in different skin color shades like ivory, black and tan, and let the kids try them on their arms or legs – explain if a color is too light or too dark and why, such as there are different skin colors in the world and we are not all the same. You can also bring pictures or wigs of different hair textures and styles and have a lot of fun with these, and explain to your class the differences in styles, textures and colors of hair. Do the same with religious and cultural attire, concentrating on cultures in the class but also some cultures that your children may have been exposed to outside of the class.
If you stick to these tips and keep conversations fun, light and educational teaching your child about tolerance will be easy. Help your child become culture savvy by giving Stone Brook Academy a call, and find out our approach to diversity appreciation.