Socialization for little ones in afterschool programs and daycare exposes them to a wide range of diversity in cultures, languages, abilities, and environments. There is no doubt kids are curious and can instantly spot similarities and differences.
Children may recognize the similarities and differences amongst their peers, so it is up to the leaders and teachers in before and afterschool programs and daycares to model diversity in their actions and behaviors, and also frame diversity as a backbone in our community — an advantageous force.
At Community Education Research Group, we offer childcare services in before and afterschool programs and daycare options in the Antioch, Minnesota Ave., and Good Hope Road areas of DC. Diversity is what makes our community, a community. Venture into this post as we talk about diversity and how we can better frame it in our before and afterschool programs and daycare facilities.
Diversity is a Strength — Celebrate it in the Classroom!
We’ve all heard the spiel about what makes us unique is our differences and this is so true, so teaching and modeling to the younger generations about diversity is crucial to creating a stronger and more vibrant community.
Use Diversity Vocabulary
As children navigate their experiences, they don’t always have the vocabulary to express their feelings. Use this time in daycare and afterschool programs to develop this language. Create a space where they can express their feelings — whether it is about how it’s scary being different or something that is really exciting to them. Boost their cultural identities and confidence by sharing your own experiences and encourage them to be brave and speak to what makes them different and allow them to navigate interests and talents.
Use supportive language in the classroom such as “Wow, you are really great at dancing,” and clarification dialogue including, “Tell me more about why you’re scared.”
Practice Diversity in Your Classroom
This is a practical way to embrace and model to your kids that diversity matters. Foster a space that incorporates cultural traditions by talking about what every kid celebrates in their family or what they do outside of the classroom. Use inclusive language like, “This is a really cool celebration and not one I’ve my family celebrates. Thanks for sharing your traditions.” Talk about different experiences and perspectives throughout the year to help kids understand that diversity and culture is always present and around them, every day.
Create a Safe Space For Asking Questions
Kids are very inquisitive and have many questions as they begin to fully experience life, but often are halted by adults to not ask questions so not to appear as rude or prying. Instead of silencing them, let’s help them frame questions in a positive, empathetic, and sensitive way as they explore differences. Instead of shouting out, “What’s that thing on your ear?” Reframe the question for your child such as, “So and so was wondering what your hearing aid is, do you mind sharing about it?”
Teaching and modeling diversity is crucial in before and afterschool programs and daycares alike because this is where they are often most exposed to it. Learn more about diversity in the classroom in part two.
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