Children are born innocent. They don’t have any prejudices or biases. As they grow, they’ll inevitably misunderstand things, but that’s because they’re learning about the world around them and how everything fits together. 

They’re exploring the unknown, and the unknown can be scary if there isn’t someone there to teach them and help them understand what they’re experiencing. When children are taught, the unknown becomes known, and in turn, not so scary after all. Knowledge breaks down barriers and can lay the groundwork for compassion and kindness to bloom.

That’s what teaching diversity and inclusion is all about, and why it’s so important for caregivers to incorporate respect for all people into their daily activities and experiences provided to kids at their childcare business.

Here are some tips and ideas for incorporating diversity and inclusion in your daily routine. Children start noticing differences between people around the age of two, so it’s never too early to teach and celebrate what makes us different as well as the many things that we share in common and bring us together as a community and a country. 

Tips:

Be a Good Role Model

The most important way a child learns is by observing and modeling those around them. Parents and caregivers have a lot of influence on children and have a responsibility to teach by example and show children how to respect, accept, and include people who are not the same as themselves. You should also be open to any and all questions children have about differences they see between people. These are sensitive topics for adults, but not children. They’re just searching for answers and direction from a grownup.

Serve Multicultural Foods 

Make it a weekly or biweekly tradition at your home daycare or childcare center to offer foods from different cultures. Food is a great way to celebrate diversity and inclusion with kids by helping them learn about all the different foods eaten by people from around the world. Here are some recipe ideas designed for childcare businesses that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

Use Diverse Décor and Materials

Objects children encounter and interact with at your childcare business can be used to introduce diversity and inclusion. For example, add dolls and toys to your play areas that represent different races, cultures, and occupations. You can also display pictures of the kids in your care with their families to show different family dynamics, including elderly and differently abled people. The more children are exposed to diversity, the differences between people don’t standout as much and simply become wonderful parts of  everyday life. 

Teach Diversity Through Books 

There are plenty of great children’s books that offer lessons on diversity and inclusion that you can read and discuss with your kiddos. For example:

  • The Sneeches, a Dr. Seuss classic about prejudice and the emotional impact of being treated differently.
  • The Color Usa positive and affirming book about skin color, celebrating differences and similarities that connect all people.

       

You can explore 50 more titles here

Celebrate All Holidays

This is an easy, fun way to help children understand and appreciate differences between people and cultures. Incorporate music and art in the celebrations, and let the kids help with decorating. You can even invite families of the children to come speak about their cultural heritage and traditions.

Tip: Asking families which holidays they observe and which ones they prefer not to celebrate can help you plan activities that are inclusive and respectful of everyone’s beliefs.

Get Children Involved

Activities, like celebrating cultural holidays mentioned above, bring the concepts of diversity and inclusion to life for children. Here are a few more activities to try:

Talking openly and positively about the many differences between people can help children better understand the world around them and discover new things about themselves. With your help, you can empower children to engage with the world with more confidence and acceptance. Thank you for all the important work you do!

To spend more time teaching children in your care, explore how you can maximize your efficiency with KidKare, the leading software for managing participation in the CACFP. 

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