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Observing The Richness Of Differences

With the many opportunities for travel available to fascinating and far flung places around the globe, the early years is a wonderful time to introduce children to the rich cultural diversity of our beautiful world. In our diverse Ladybird community we have thirty-six different nationalities of children and staff which affords us the opportunity to learn to live respectfully together and benefit from one another’s wisdom and experiences. In addition, while living in the UAE we gain exposure to diverse cultures, develop enhanced language and communication capabilities, forge friendships that span the globe and cultivate an open-minded skill set.

Helping a child understand and respect similarities and differences will also help them to understand who they are in the context of race, ethnic group, culture, religion, language and familial history. This personal information in turn introduces concepts from history, geography, and anthropology. Building positive identities and a respect for differences means weaving diversity into the fabric of children’s everyday lives. Working with families is an important first step in helping children accept, understand and value their rich and varied world.

Who we are plays a major role in how we respond to our world and how we educate others and ourselves. Our children learn about their own backgrounds and the background of children who are different from them. This helps children respect similarities and differences and to become open minded and tolerant to people and ideas. We have the opportunity to observe varying perspectives that individuals bring to our learning environment. Our learning environment has the following diversity goals for our children:

  1. To see themselves and their families represented throughout the nursery.
  2. To be introduced to activities, resources and concrete experiences that challenge stereotypes.
  3. To learn to appreciate, enjoy and seek out differences.
  4. To identify cultural celebrations and when they are celebrated. Contributions of many cultures are shared throughout the year and not only at specific times. Each culture has its own customs, beliefs, rituals and religion that make them both unique and great..

In addition, below is a selection of books we have shared with the children to celebrate the richness of our differences :

  • Good people everywhere – Lynea Gillen
  • The skin I am in – Pat Thomas
  • Elmer – David McKee
  • Whoever you are – Mem Fox
  • It’s okay to be different – Todd Parr

We love our diversity at Ladybird!

Priscilla Palmer