Language and its effects on cultural identity
What is "diversity sensitive" pedagogy?
Language development in the early years is not an isolated process but ties into the holistic process of your child’s development. When your child acquires a first or second language it is not just a linguistic issue. It also influences your child’s sense of self. The reason for this is that language and communication are one of the main forms of self-expression.
With language acquisition your child now gains the ability to actively engage in social interaction, verbalise needs, wishes, boundaries, preferences and dislikes. These all form their self-expression, self-confidence, self-awareness, autonomy and independence.
Your child’s identity is largely shaped by experiences in their life as well as the verbalised sense of self. The main aspect that comes into play when talking about a child’s language and identity is belonging. The impact that speaking a certain language, dressing a certain way, expressing one’s cultural background, views and beliefs have on a child is essentially the question of `where I belong ́ and ‘who I am’. It is vital to allow children to find their own personal story based on their experiences in a multilingual, multicultural setting. It is important that all the significant people in your child’s life are supporting them in maintaining a healthy connection with themselves. Children with a strong sense of identity will become adults who have learned to trust in themselves and their own story.
Especially during the time of settling into a new environment your child will be confronted with unfamiliar situations and unknown people. This can be a testing time for the child and their sense of self. By supporting your child, openly communicating about their experiences and having a positive mindset towards settling in your child into a diverse institution, you as a parent can contribute to the settling in experience for your child and other children.