Families, staff, and children come together to create a diverse learning environment
Our staff, children, and families come from a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities, and the Child Development Center both respects and celebrates this diversity. We cultivate a space that incorporates everyone’s unique heritage into the fabric of the center’s culture, mission, and curriculum, enriching the early childhood learning process for all involved.
We learn about a variety of cultures by celebrating traditions and holidays, such as Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Cinco de Mayo, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ramadan, Iranian New Year, and Chinese New Year. The center also holds a festival each year in which children and their parents share activities, music, and food from different countries. We often utilize the resources of our greater university community as well, and invite international student groups to share their unique perspectives with us through performing traditional dances, and assisting with activities.
The center’s curriculum materials represent our whole community, with pictures, books, dolls, puppets, puzzles, and other toys that reflect a rainbow of colors, a variety of ages, and an equality of genders. In addition, because many of our teachers speak a second language we have the opportunity to offer a linguistically diverse curriculum. We incorporate languages, such as Spanish, Farsi, Chinese, and American Sign Language, into the songs, counting exercises, games, and key phrases we engage in throughout the day.
Along with these elements of our curriculum, we recognize the importance of cultural variations in dining and musical experiences. Just as adults often learn to appreciate different cultures through eating at new restaurants and attending world music concerts, our children learn through exposure to a variety of food and music. Children appreciate songs from around the world through singing and listening to CDs, as well as through our extra-curricular program with Opus One Music. They experience both familiar and new flavors through our food service, and older children do international cooking activities in their classrooms.
By learning about and sharing everyone’s unique experiences, families, children, and staff of our community build a place of exploration and growth that’s centered on diversity.
To learn more about the importance of diversity in early childhood development, check out the following resources that are available through the center:
- Alike and Different: Exploring Our Humanity with Young Children edited by Bonnie Neugebauer
- Celebrate! An Anti-Bias Guide to Enjoying Holidays in Early Childhood Programs by Julie Bisson
- Celebrations! Festivals, Carnivals, and Feast Days from Around the World by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley
- Connections and Commitments: Reflecting Latino Values in Early Childhood Programs by Costanza Eggers-Pierola
- Roots and Wings: Affirming Culture in Early Childhood Programs by Stacey York