Culture is a complex issue and it is not always easy for young children to understand differences between people and other cultures. “Why is that person’s skin brown/white/black?” “Why is that person wearing ‘funny’ clothes?
These questions don’t mean your child is prejudiced but rather that as a young person s/he is naturally curious about self, others and the world they see around them. Such questions provide teachable moments to teach positive values and acceptance. At a time when your child is learning how to behave and interact with others, it is a good opportunity to teach them of the diversity of our world and its peoples. Young children will easily pick up your own values and attitudes.
Tips for teaching tolerance
- Provide a nurturing, loving, supportive environment to help develop in your child a healthy self-image as that may help reduce fear of difference.
- Be a good role model. Assess your own values and biases and continue to develop respect for all. If someone else speaks inappropriately about others in front of your child, deal with it immediately.
- If your child asks one of the questions above in public, or one like it, answer simply and honestly, with respect.
- Expose yourself and your child to other cultural experiences. Many communities in Australia have multi-cultural days and they are a great opportunity to see many cultures together but different. Children’s books on this subject are good too.
- If your child is insensitive to another remind them of how they feel when they are not treated well by their friends.
Angel’s Paradise Early Education Centre prizes itself on its philosophy of We treating everyone with respect and dignity regardless of their gender, cultural beliefs, socio-economic status or ability. Our teaching staff organise cultural experiences for the children.