Holidays, More Food & Everyday Things: Reflecting Human Diversity
It is important that child care centres value the human diversity that exists within the families and community it operates within. The centre should be a place where all children and families are valued and respected regardless of racial, religious, cultural, age, linguistic, economic, family structure, or gender differences. As Australians we live in a diverse, multicultural society and child care centre staff have an important role in educating children to develop attitudes that are opposed to prejudice, stereotyping and bias. Through a centre’s policies and procedures families should see clear evidence of a shared commitment to valuing human rights and the dignity of each individual.
Celebrating the diversity of a community can be done in many ways and strategies a centre employs should encompass much more than just a calendar of token cultural holiday celebrations. Instead the learning program should rich with a broad variety of resources and learning experiences which reflect a diverse range of people, cultures and languages. Parents should see evidence that the centre;
– Maintains (or accesses as required) learning resources representing a wide range of people, customs and cultures.
– Includes learning activities in the program which focus on:
- Cultural diversity,
- Language and bilingualism, including non-verbal and written language,
- Gender role differences and similarities,
- Family lifestyles,
- Festivities and celebrations,
- Identification and discussion of prejudice and bias experiences, and
- The development of critical and analytical thinking.
– Considers ways in which the centre’s environment can reflect relevant cultural influences
– Includes a diverse range of recipes, representing a range of cultures, within the centre’s menu plan
Centre staff should act as positive role models in supporting children as they construct their knowledge of diversity through;
- Recognising, respecting and valuing each individual family and the importance of their unique cultural background
- Being sensitive to and encouraging families to share their values, beliefs and attitudes in contributing to policies and Centre practices
- Encouraging families to share important information/knowledge regarding the individual customs and celebrations of each family and appropriate ways to integrate these into the Centre’s program
- Inviting families to contribute ideas and resources for the learning environment, the program, calendar of events and menu planning
- Discussing with families how special occasions can be celebrated in meaningful and respectful ways
Children gain confidence and self esteem when they feel themselves and their families to be valued and respected. It is important that families, children and staff are supported to adopt values and attitudes that accept the diversity that makes our community rich and complex.