"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.