The Importance of Teaching Multiculturalism & Diversity

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It is vital to provide inclusion of multiculturalism and diversity in your preschool lesson plans and it is not just because NAEYC & ECERS & NECPA and every other accreditation organization says so!

An emphasis of multicultural activities across the curriculum can help improve positive socialization behaviors among children. The impact of culture on learning and behavior is natural and should be recognized through inclusion of appropriate activities and knowledge of a child’s cultural background (Kendall, 1983). Supported by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, these systems begin with what is closest to the child and has the most impact, and expands outward to include the global environment and time (Broffenbrenner, 1974).

A sound multicultural education model manifests an acceptance of a respect for all cultures in our pluralistic society. It fosters positive self-regard in one’s own culture and positive attitudes toward the culture of others. While exploring similarities and differences among cultures, it develops an understanding and appreciation of one’s own cultural heritage as well as that of other cultures. It fosters the ability to function harmoniously and productively in a multicultural society.

The principles of multicultural education promote close working relationships among the school, home, and community in order to provide consistent expectations and mutual support. The use of positive role models from the community is an integral and valuable component for promoting multicultural education in the schools. It is important to note the diversity of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and races of children in schools (McCracken, J.B., 1993).

With the support of research, theorists and experience, the inclusion of multiculturalism within classrooms just makes perfect sense! Think of it…providing young children with endless opportunities and exposure to beautiful traditions, music and rhythms, instruments, celebrations, books, people, homes, art; and that is just to name a few!

Check out part 2 for my tips on integrating multiculturalism and diversity into the preschool classroom.

 

Bronfenbrenner, U. Developmental research, public policy, and the ecology of childhood. Child Development, 1974, 45, 1-5.

McCracken, J. B. (1993). Valuing diversity: The primary years. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

About Jenne Parks