SM

Shaping young minds: 3 ways to teach children about diversity

June 12, 2023
Parents
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Our purpose is to ‘share a love of learning so that every child’s story can unfold’.

Every child has a different story to tell. It’s what we believe and why we love what we do. Our children and families come to us from diverse backgrounds and starting points. It is important to us that we celebrate the diversity of our children and teams as they live their own individual stories.

Celebrating diversity goes hand in hand with equality. Equality is not about treating everybody in the same way. It is about ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities to thrive, and that we celebrate the diversity that makes us all unique. As educators, we have a duty to support children to understand their uniqueness and to celebrate our differences.

Parents and families have a big part to play in shaping children’s views and opinions too, here are three ways that you can teach your child about diversity.

1. Reading

Books are central to the SM curriculum and a brilliant resource as they offer opportunities for discussion through the text and illustrations. Through books, children can learn about our differences and what makes us unique. Children learn that we don’t all have to be the same. The EYFS framework explores how stories can ‘foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world’.

You can support your child’s understanding of diversity at home. The following books can help stimulate discussions about what makes each of us different:

  • Handa’s Surprise
  • My Shadow is Pink
  • A House for Everyone
  • This is Me
  • Elmer
  • The Odd Egg
  • The Proudest Blue

2. Mealtimes

We also explore diversity in our nurseries through our menus. Serving a diverse range of nutritious meals encourages discussion about foods for celebrations, different customs and foods from around the world.

You can do this at home too by cooking meals from different parts of the world. Not only can this introduce your child to new flavours, but also provide an opportunity to discuss the backgrounds and traditions associated with each meal.

You can also involve your child in the preparation of meals, working together to measure and mix ingredients of their favourite dishes. As you work together, take the time to discuss how different cultures incorporate various ingredients, spices, herbs, and flavours into their cuisine.  

We love seeing the wonderful meals you create, tag us @storalnurseries in your photos on Instagram.

3. Cultural celebrations and events

The diversity of our children, families and teams give us the opportunity to explore different languages, cultural celebrations and festivals. We learn from each other and start to understand that we are all different, but fundamentally the same.

Our learning can extend beyond nursery too. One great way to do this is by attending community events or festivals that align with the cultural themes we explore at nursery. GOV.UK published guidance that ‘the more experience children have of being out and about in their community, the more they are able to understand their community and make a contribution’. Where communities do not represent such diversity, it is even more important that we explore these differences with our our children.  

Inclusivity embraces not only cultural diversity, but also neurodiversity, additional needs, different family groups and individual uniqueness, which all add to the richness of our nursery schools and help us to understand our world and communities better.

Shanti Flynn, Head of Education SM
Article by Shanti Flynn, Head of Education
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