Diversity and its role in the settling in process

All children have the right to social participation (Nations, 1989). All people, regardless of their cultural background or language, their individual abilities, their religious beliefs, gender identity or sexuality have the right to participate in society and to have access to fair educational opportunities (Nations, 2006).

When families enter an international kindergarten setting with multilingual children from different parts of the world, it is important to communicate openly. It is essential that the kindergarten knows whether a child has previously been diagnosed with any impairment or special learning needs.

Carers and educators will discuss what the child needs to settle in and come up with a clear plan of what this could look like but must allow for flexibility within this. It is good to talk about the first few days, what the carers can and should do to prepare, as well as what the carers think the educators can do to help support the child.  The more information carers can give and share, the better the process will be for everyone.

Educators will generally set up their classroom with different learning styles in mind. The play material may have sensory, nature and art options, allows all children a range of experiences. Educators should review and ensure that their processes, structures and attitudes allow every child, including those with special needs are able to participate.

When a child with any type of learning differences joins a group, the social relations between the children are strengthened. Taking into consideration children with different learning styles becomes more natural and children with different abilities can find it easier to integrate into the group. All children are experiencing how much can be learned and how they are competent in their own way.

• Find time to welcome new carers to the community.

• If your child is in need of special education, love and care, don’t be afraid to speak openly with the other carers. Find strength in the community, ask your educator for details of organisations in your local area which may offer additional support. You are not alone.

• Arrange play dates outside of kindergarten to support the settling in process.