Ask any childcare centre today whether they value and embrace cultural diversity, and the leaders are bound to say 'yes'. But how can you know if they're really committed to giving children a broad experience and understanding of other cultures? Whether your own child is from a minority culture or you just want your little one to grow up well-rounded, here are three signs that will show you how much a child care centre really cares.
They Have Diverse Resources
One way you can tell a childcare centre's real attitude to multiculturalism is by looking at the resources they use. First, look at the 'library' or book collection. Do you see children of different races or religions on the covers? Are there any books that specifically teach children about different cultures?
Another place to look is the arts and crafts supplies. Does the centre have crayons, markers, pencils, paint, and construction paper available in a variety of skin tones?
Don't forget to look at toys too. Dolls and any other toys depicting people (such as some puzzles and board games) should represent as many ethnicities as possible.
They Encourage Children to Share Experiences
The very word 'diversity' means a wide variety of differences. Yet, so many childcare centres still only give children their own viewpoint of the world. Even within one race or religion, experiences can vary greatly, and it's impossible for any early years professional to be an expert on all those nuances. The best leaders are well aware of their own limitations and combat their limitations by encouraging children to share their own experiences. For example, alongside giving a lesson on what Eid is about, they may ask the Muslim children at the centre if they'd like to share what kind of foods are eaten during Eid since the menus can vary.
They Embrace All Cultures—Not Just Those in the Centre
Unless you live in a highly multicultural urban area, it's unlikely your chosen childcare centre will represent every culture found in the melting pot that is modern Australia. But if a childcare centre really values diversity, they'll embrace a wide variety of cultures beyond the ones represented by their current cohort. For example, they may have a Chinese New Year party despite having no East Asian children at the centre or try Diwali activities even if none of the children are Hindu. Over the years, your child will meet people with traditions from every corner of the world, so it's great to send them to a preschool that values all of them.