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Skin & hair color 

INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCES AND HOW THEY CAN LEAD TO PARENT-EDUCATOR PARTNERSHIP CHALLENGES

A very diverse team and kindergarten culture is made up of people with many different physical traits. Children sometimes fear novel appearances and need a “settling in” in this regard as well.  

Those children who are used to people with similar appearances can be overwhelmed by the large amount of diversity resulting in obvious signs of distress. It is important to observe how the children are reacting to their new environment. In the case that the group educators are quite different in their appearance, the child might seek out or withdraw from a certain educator or situation depending on the level of comfort. Insecurity can come from the question of whether or not a different appearance will result in a different reaction. 

The curiosity of a child regarding a different looking person may be perceived rude or blunt to an adult. Families’ values and viewpoints can affect a child’s way of seeing and reacting to differences. This can cause quite a few problems and needs careful but firm discussion on the part of the educator.  

A kindergarten curriculum should contain a section on diversity, and how to implement it into a daily structure.  

Use morning circles to discuss differences and similarities of people with one another, such as hair and eye colour, skin colour, language, clothing, etc. 

Passing around a small mirror, encouraging the children to describe themselves is a valuable and fun activity.

Discussing similarities and differences as a class will help children to feel and understand that everyone is different and that this is ok.

Reading stories and talking about the differences in the characters (even if they are animals) and the teacher asks, “Do you have ears like this bear? Or stripes like this tiger?” helps children to see how many differences there are in everyone and how they are ok.

Encouraging children to share from their culture and aspects of their background, as well as inviting families to come in and share can help children see that everyone’s family looks and is different but has something wonderful and fun to share.