Learning about cultural diversity for children under 5
Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture. The term “cultural diversity” can also refer to having different cultures respect each other’s differences and is an important aspect of our society that should be celebrated and valued. It is through embracing and respecting different cultures that we can create a more respectful and inclusive world.
In the critical roles we play as parents, educators and the community surrounding our little learners, it is essential to introduce children to different cultures, helping them develop a positive attitude towards diversity. One of the best ways to achieve this is by celebrating Cultural Diversity Week, an annual event on our Choklits Calendar of Events. This is an opportunity to promote cultural diversity and inclusion. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how children under 5 can celebrate cultural diversity week and how it links to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
The EYLF is a national curriculum framework that guides early childhood education in Australia. It aims to promote children’s learning and development by focusing on their interests and strengths, building on their knowledge and experiences. It has five learning outcomes that emphasise the importance of developing social and emotional skills, language and communication, and cognitive skills.
Here are some activities that children under 5 can participate in to celebrate cultural diversity week in relation to the EYLF:
- Explore different cultures through books and stories: Children love listening to stories, and it’s a great way to introduce them to different cultures. You can choose books that depict different cultural traditions and customs and read them aloud to the children. After reading the story, you can discuss the characters’ cultural background and the traditions they follow. This activity helps children develop language and communication skills, as well as build their knowledge and understanding of different cultures, which aligns with the EYLF’s learning outcome 2.
- Celebrate diversity through art and craft: Art and craft activities are a great way to celebrate diversity and promote creativity. You can provide children with materials such as paper, paint, crayons, and scissors, and encourage them to create art that reflects different cultures. For example, they could create a collage of images that represent their cultural background or make a paper lantern to celebrate the Chinese New Year. This activity aligns with the EYLF’s learning outcome 4, which focuses on children’s creativity and self-expression.
- Explore cultural foods: Food is an integral part of any culture, and children love exploring different tastes and textures. Our Choklits Menu showcases this through a range of cultural cuisines that make our mouths water! (Italian-inspired ‘Frittatta-me-thingy’, Tex-Mex inspired ‘Watcha-taco-about’ and Moroccan-inspired ‘Lazy Lamb’ are just a few cultural adventures our chefs take us to during lunch!). At home, you can introduce children to different cultural foods by organising a food tasting session. A great suggestion from one of our Choklits families was to share a dinner from a different culture on the first of each month. You can discuss the ingredients and the cultural significance of each dish. This activity aligns with the EYLF’s learning outcome 3, which focuses on children’s health and well-being.
- Engage in music and dance: Music and dance are an excellent way to introduce children to different cultures. You can play music from different parts of the world and encourage children to dance to the rhythm. This video perfectly demonstrates the engagement and curiosity children show when they engage with musical experiences from other cultures. You can also teach children different cultural dance forms, such as the Indian Bhangra or the African Zulu dance. This activity helps children develop their physical skills and movement, which aligns with the EYLF’s learning outcome 5, which focuses on the many ways music can be used to enhance literacy and communication.
- Celebrate cultural festivals: Cultural festivals are a great way to celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures. You could organise to attend a local cultural festival, where children can learn about different cultural traditions and participate in various activities. You could even host something yourself at home. For example, you could celebrate the Lunar New Year by teaching your children how to make dumplings or the Indian Diwali by creating colourful rangoli designs. This activity aligns with the EYLF’s learning outcome 5, which focuses on children’s engagement with their community.
In conclusion, celebrating cultural diversity week with children under 5 is an excellent way to promote social cohesion, acceptance, and inclusivity. By introducing children to different cultures through books, art, food, music, dance, and festivals, we can help them develop a rich sense of respect and awareness for both their own culture and the culture of others.
Written by Choklits author Dee Wasserfall.