Meeting new people and diversity

by Caroline Gee. There are many ways we can help our child to understand and celebrate diversity.

Child and woman smiling

Introduction

We live in a world with lots of different types of people. Young children have the wonderful ability not to pre-judge others - it doesn't matter to them what people look like, where they come from, what religious beliefs they might have and whether or not they are able-bodied.

There are lots of ways we can help our children to understand and celebrate differences. We have the opportunity to let our children know that life would be very boring if we were all the same!

How CBeebies can help

Many shows on CBeebies celebrate differences. You and your child can have lots of fun finding out about a range of cultural festivals and celebrations by taking a look around the Let's Celebrate house. Here you'll find stories and film clips to watch as well as brilliant craft activities linked to the different celebrations. Why not try making a paper lantern for Diwali, a henna pattern for Eid or a flag to mark St David's Day?

The Something Special pages are also a fantastic way to celebrate how we can communicate using sign language as well as speech. You and your child can have a great time learning how to sign along with Justin.

How to make a magic moment

Food is a fabulous way to explore and celebrate our cultural differences. Check out some tasty recipes in the 'Make & Colour' section of the CBeebies website.

You could have some fun organising a 'celebrations' party for your child and their friends and serve some yummy treats such as the Besan Ladoo sweets, onion pakoras or chocolate Easter nests.

If your child still has plenty of energy after eating all that food, why not organise some craft activities using the ideas on the 'Make & Colour' pages? What guest could resist making a colourful Chinese New Year dragon or Carnival hat?

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Expert opinion

Young children in the UK are being raised in a society with many sources of cultural diversity.

Young children of every cultural or ethnic background need to develop a secure sense of their own identity.

On a firm basis of 'my own culture', children are then able to make sense and learn about information highlighting less familiar cultures.

Jennie Lindon, Chartered Psychologist and Early Years specialist

Top tips

  • Every child is unique and should be encouraged to celebrate who they are and what they can do.A good place to start when thinking about understanding differences is to talk about similarities and differences in everyday things such as flowers or cars. Just as these objects have some shared qualities as well as differences, so too do people.Children are naturally curious about the world around them and they don't pre-judge others. This age is the perfect time to be taught about acceptance.It's great to celebrate diversity. By learning about other people's traditions, cultures and abilities, we help to enrich our children's lives.

Parent's tale

My son was the first in his nursery to get glasses. He mentioned this so we talked about his school friends and we asked him to find one unique thing about each friend. He quite enjoyed this game.

We also spent a good deal of time at home looking at how many people did wear glasses. I also had a friend show him her 'secret glasses' (contact lenses) so he understood lots of people did. Soon all his friends wanted a go of his glasses. I told him they were the one thing he didn't have to share.

Shiv, Llangollen, Cymru

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