Teaching Diversity

Diversity: The art of thinking independently together– Malcolm Forbes

Here are a few more suggestions to help you teach children to not only value diversity but also to resist prejudice and discrimination.

  • Train children to be critical thinkers, specifically about prejudice and discrimination. Critical thinking is when we strive to understand issues through examining and questioning. Young children can be taught to develop these skills and know when a word or an image is biased or upsetting.
  • Respond to children’s questions and comments about differences even if you’re not sure what to say. Children often interpret a lack of response to mean that it’s not acceptable to talk about differences. If you’re unsure about what to say then you can always go back to a child and say: “Yesterday you asked me a question about… Let’s talk about it.
  • Shape your response as per the child’s age and disposition. Remember that children’s questions and comments are anapproach for them to gather information about aspects of their identity and usually do not stem from bias or prejudice.Usually children pop up such kind of questions as they want to know why people are different, what it means and how those differences relate to them.
  • It is equally important to the respond to the nonverbal observations and curiosity of your child.
  • Model the behaviours and attitudes you want children to develop. Pay particular attention to situations that can either promote prejudice or inhibit a child’s openness to diversity.
  • As children learn best from concrete experiences so try to create opportunities for them to interact and make friends with people who are different from them.
  • Try to expose children to role models both from their own culture as well as from other cultures.
  • When children see adults developing positive relationships with people who are different, it not only sets an example for them to follow but also teaches children to value such relationships.

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