Children entering school will be faced with other children who will have different backgrounds, including family structures, religious practices and cultural traditions. Creating a harmonious environment that respects and celebrates such differences can help children have a successful schooling experience. Daycare providers can start this process early on by introducing traditions from different cultures into infant care classrooms.
Welcome all your parents to your daycare and request that they get involved by providing information about their own family and cultural traditions. Take time to get to know parents and to understand their backgrounds. You can do this at a yearly orientation event, but also encourage care providers at your daycare facility to regularly connect with parents and to help them connect with each other.
Ask parents to contribute to the cultural environment in the infant care rooms. Parents who speak another language can teach care providers songs in their native tongue, which can then be sung to the children. Parents can also recommend art projects or play activities that are age-appropriate and stem from their culture.
Encourage parents to make culturally-significant snack recommendations that are safe for infants who are starting solid foods. For example, rice is a significant food in many cultures and can make a good snack for young children. By offering a variety of safe snacks from around the world, you can help infants to develop a taste for new foods. Be sure you work closely with parents so that you are not offering foods to children that are not ready for them yet.
Ask older children at the daycare center to create culturally significant, colorful art for the walls of the infant-care rooms. For example, many cultures celebrate the Christmas holidays in different ways. Older children could provide decorations that demonstrate their own cultural traditions at that time of year.
Ask parents about the holidays that are significant in their culture and what activities they engage in to celebrate. Look for ways you can adapt activities to be age-appropriate and use them mark important cultural days.
- baby image by Olberto Mejia. from Fotolia.com