Which special challenges are there when settling in a group of children with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds?


A so-called culture shock is a shock-like emotional state that people can fall into when they encounter a foreign culture. For the first time in a child's life, entering a kindergarten often complements family upbringing and opens new opportunities for the children beyond the family environment. In kindergarten, many children and their families have for the first-time intensive contact with other value systems, languages and parenting styles. Dominik is entering a new environment where he is perhaps not used to the food, the toys and is not at all comfortable with the language and culture. This can cause Dominik to be very attached to his parents, especially if they are nervous as well. Dominik is picking up on his mother’s anxiety making it even harder for him to feel comfortable, because if his mother was trusting of the settling in system and the educators, Dominik would feel a lot better about being there.

Problems of communication, language barriers, different approaches and ideas in dealing with the child are the order of the day with international acclimatization. Dealing with cultural and linguistic differences must be considered in the adaptation process, in order to give the children and their families a pleasant start in the kindergarten and to prevent or avoid a possible cultural shock. Dominik’s teachers may want to check in with Dominik’s parents and see how they are feeling. They can also show they are making an effort by asking about some nice age appropriate books that he has at home that they could have in the classroom, and for some common phrases in Hungarian that he understands to help him feel more understood and at home (Lynch & Hanson, 1992).