"Educators who are culturally competent respect multiple cultural ways of knowing, seeing and living, celebrate the benefits of diversity and have an ability to understand and honour differences. Belonging, Being and Becoming; The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, page 16. How can centres and schools show that cultural diversity enriches our identity? How about an around the world family festival open day?!?
Celebrate the Olympics
With the Olympics beginning next month, there is no better time than now to celebrate the world around us. Over 200 countries will compete in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, providing a glorious display of colour, culture and diversity. It is a time where the world community shows a sense of peace and unity in the face of difficult and trying times.
For many children, this will be their first experience with the global event, so it is a great opportunity to foster an appreciation for the atmosphere and learning the Olympic Games brings to our lives.
The opening ceremony not only delivers an exciting, visually rich viewing experience, it provides an energetic platform from which families and educators can build, to scaffold children’s learning.
Immersing children in a wide array of cultural resources at this time, whilst there is much media attention on the Olympic Games, will allow them to discover, wonder and engage with diversity in their own ways. Educational Experience has an inviting range of culturally diverse resources to enrich your Olympic experience.
What inspiring experiences has your centre provided for children to engage in around diversity and culture?
For educators this can mean connecting with families of diverse backgrounds in the centre and inviting them to share their unique talents or stories. This can be as simple as learning to count in another language, cooking a traditional food or sharing family videos and photos.
This is a great way to consider 1.1.2 of The National Quality Standard:
“Each child’s knowledge, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program”
What does culture mean to you?
Families at home looking to inspire children and extend on their knowledge of different cultures may think about exploring the family’s heritage with their children, listening to music from around the world or reading a story that includes different cultures.
“Being culturally competent doesn’t mean denying our own culture or having to know everything about all cultures” [Early Years Learning Framework, pg 22]
What do you find a challenge when considering the role cultural diversity plays in a child’s development? What is your favourite Olympic memory or event?
‘Cultural competence requires that organisations have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviours, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively crossculturally.’ (National Centre for Cultural Competence, 2006)
In so many ways, early childhood and primary school aged children are taking an exceptional journey; an exploration where new experiences take children to new and exciting places every day.
As we explore the world around us, we have considered one very important question:
How can we provide opportunities for children to gain a deeper understanding of their place in the wider world?
We believe that creating global citizens can be embedded in every learning experience.
How are our learning are experiences helping children meet the challenge of the modern world?
What does a global citizen look like?
What practices world you change to help children to become citizens of the world?
‘While respecting our differences is necessary in an open, inclusive and vibrant society, it is also vital to acknowledge that we have much in common. We have much to gain, individually and collectively, by working together to build a positive and progressive future that enhances our state as a great place in which to live, work, invest and raise a family.’ All of Us Multicultural Policy for Victoria 2009, Hon John Brumby and James Merlino, MP, p 2
Bringing the world to your children:
Themed days are an initial step towards building strong and genuine connections with the diversity of your local community. In many parts of Australia we are so lucky because the world has come to us in the types of food, music, dance, song, dress and cultural traditions. Themed days that bring the local community into your centre and school will enrich and enhance learning experiences for every child, no matter their background.
Resource Review and Refresh:
Do you resources reflect the diversity of the world around us?
Begin with looking at the books you have in the centre and school. Do they reflect different cultures, families and religions?
Do your dramatic play and imaginative play resources reflect the diversity of the world? Any dolls or figures should reflect the cultures- all shapes and sizes- of the world.
Ahlan wa sahlan! Velkommen! Bula! Willkommen! Aloha! Yōkoso! Mai! Bienvenido! Maligayang pagdating! Huānyíng! Welcome!
Can you guess the welcomes above? What cultures and languages can you recognise?
Exploring the world around us is one of the most rewarding learning experiences for children, educators, teachers and parents. As children develop a greater sense of self it is essential that we provide opportunities for children to gain a deeper sense of their place in the wider world.
This month we will be explore how educators, teachers and parents can explore the world around us, providing engaging learning experiences for children in the early years and primary school.
Join us online by using our hashtag #worldaroundus and keep an eye on our social media for resource specials and articles.
What is cultural competence?
Respect for diversity is one of the fundamental principles of the Early Years Learning Framework.
“Educators honour the histories, cultures, languages, traditions, child rearing practices and lifestyle choices of families. They value children’s different capacities and abilities and respect differences in families’ home lives.”
Cultural competence is unique in that educational professionals are able to build connections with their communities, understanding the backgrounds of students and the rich cultural traditions that children bring with them. To be respectful and embrace the diverse backgrounds means enriching the learning environment and the learning experiences for every child.
The broad supporting elements of the Australian National Curriculum also highlight how cultural diversity, our multi-layered national identity can form apart of teaching and learning for k-6 teachers. For example, the inclusion of Cross-Curriculum Priorities outlining how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures can be explored through every curriculum area supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders students and families, while enriching the experiences of all students. Also, in the Humanities and Social Sciences key ideas, identity, heritage and cultural diversity plays a key part in learning:
“Students explore their own identity, Australia’s heritage and cultural diversity, and Australia’s identity as a nation in the world. They examine the significance of traditions and shared values within society.”
Why is it important?
“Educators who are culturally competent respect multiple ways of knowing, seeing and living, celebrate the benefits of diversity and have an ability to understand and honour differences…” (EYLF p.13)
For children to gain a strong sense of self, there needs to be a strong sense of belonging. This may be to belong to a place, such as a preschool or school. Increasingly, home and heritage provides education professionals an ideal connection with a child’s sense of identity, allowing the child to explore their world from their perspective and to see it from other perspectives.
Cultural competence embraces:
• Being aware of one’s own world view and of other’s world view,
• Developing positive values towards cultural identities,
• Gaining knowledge and understanding of different cultural traditions and values,
• Developing skills for positive connections, communication and interaction across cultures and identities.
“Children thrive when families and educators work together in partnership to support young children’s learning.” (Early Years Learning Framework, p.9)