5 Ways to Emphasize Diversity in Your Child Center’s Classroom
This post was originally created and published by Procare Solutions on February 2nd, 2022. You can find the original piece here. It is reprinted here with permission from Procare.
Emphasizing diversity in your child center is vital to ensuring that all people who walk through your door feel seen and valued, and that students learn about other cultures and people with backgrounds different than their own.
Classrooms that emphasize diversity expose students to new perspectives. These perspectives often lead to deeper discussions. If you incorporate diversity in the classroom, you’ll help prepare your students for the world.
Diversity in the classroom not only means understanding that each student brings unique experiences to a classroom, but also exploring these differences to enrich learning.
Let’s take a look at five ways to emphasize diversity into your child care center’s classrooms.
1. Get to Know Your Students
Where do their families come from? What’s unique about their backgrounds? What learning styles suit their individual personalities best?
Here are a few ideas to do that:
- Make the time: Be intentional and schedule a few minutes each day to meet with your students. This will give you the chance to learn about them. It will also help your students learn to trust you, making it easier for them to open up and share.
- Include your teachers: Diversity in the classroom should be a center-wide initiative. Get your teachers involved and ask them to get to know your students, too.
- Act on your insights: Once you have a few insights into who they are, plan lessons and activities that cater to their unique personalities.
2. Adjust Your Center’s Curriculum
Use your knowledge of the children in your care to assess, and possibly change, your center’s lesson plans. Don’t be afraid to adjust your center’s curriculum to better incorporate diversity.
Here are some teacher resources that you might find helpful, from Western Governors University:
Also consider stocking your rooms with books celebrating different cultures. Check out this list of children’s picture books that celebrate diversity.
3. Hire Diverse Teachers
Kids generally connect best with those they identify with most.
Developing a racially diverse workforce has long been cited as crucial to improving student performance, especially among Black and Latino youth.
So do your best to hire teachers with diverse backgrounds. And for all your hires, make sure they’re committed to inclusive classrooms.
4. Re-Evaluate Your Center’s Activities
Next, take a look at the entertainment you plan for your kids. Can you adjust these fun activities to better incorporate diversity in the classroom? Probably!
One idea is buying games that are popular in other countries.
Do a little research to find fun activities that originally come from the cultures your students represent. Then make them available at your daycare center.
Teaching Tolerance is an organization that helps teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy. Check out its free online resources, and see if it could be a fit for professional development at your child care center.
5. Celebrate Diverse Cultures
When working and learning with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures in the classroom, students gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. It also teaches students how to use their own strengths and points of view to contribute in a diverse working environment, according to the Drexel University School of Education.
If you want to incorporate diversity in the classroom, adjusting your center’s curriculum and re-evaluating its activities are good places to start … but celebrating diverse cultures on a regular basis is a way to go further. Here are some ideas:
- Teach Kids About Different People Groups: February is Black History Month. Teach your kids about Harriet Tubman, Miles Davis and Martin Luther King Jr. March is Women’s History Month. Teach your kids about Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.
- Host Culturally Themed Events: Invite your students and their families to your center for a full day of fun and entertainment. Then ask them to bring a dish to share that represents their unique backgrounds.