Supporting inclusion and diversity
Diversity Kids is a multicultural consultancy program that works primarily with education & care services to support cultural inclusion & inclusive practices in education. The philosophy that underpins their work is the belief that each child is a cultural being, which plays a key role in their sense of belonging and inclusion and ultimately, in who they become.
While climates such as the one surrounding the Black Lives Matter campaign provide opportunities for biases to surface in children, at the same time, they offer the chance to speak to your child about race, racism and embracing diversity. Families can seize moments such as this, and use them to openly discuss, clarify and embrace culture, diversity, anti bias, kindness, respect and empathy with your child.
According to Diversity Kids, there are stages of awareness which begin to develop in children from a very young age that are worth recognising.
Stages of Awareness Of Difference *3-4 year olds (adapted from Roots & Wings, York S, 1992)
Refine their ability to notice differences amongst people
Can identify & match people according to physical characteristics
Learn adult labels for other races
Are susceptible to believing adult stereotypes
Mask fear of differences with avoidance, silliness
Show preference (or not) for mixing with other groups
Can make false associations and generalisations
This list provides a clear indication of just how much little brains can comprehend at just three to four years of age and this is only going to increase as they grow and develop. It’s simple. If you want a culturally diverse child, ensure you’re surrounding them with those offering positive attitudes and actions towards cultural diversity.
Diversity Kids regularly feature diversity & inclusion resources on their Facebook page, so follow along for some great ideas! www.facebook.com/kidsdiv/
Resources to support inclusion and diversity?
There are many inclusion & diversity resources available. Here are a few we recommend for home -
Books that teach children about diversity and culture -
we like Mem Fox’s “Whoever you are” and Alexandra Penfold’s “All are welcome”
Art activities. Some examples include
- Pet rocks with a twist. Mix different paint colours to create a variety of skin tones for your pets.
- Display artworks from different cultures & a selection of art materials for your little one to attempt a similar piece. Use this as a discussion point about where the art is from.