Many times, in early childhood education diversity is not something that is immediately thought about when coming up with new themes. Often, we think the children will not understand what we are trying to teach them. But I think this month is a grand example of how easy it would be to introduce diverse cultures and teach children about the traditions of those cultures.
As we become better connected to the world around us with the internet, it becomes easier to find ways to show children what is out in the world. You tube allows us to find short to the point videos. National Geographic has documentaries that we can recommend to families or include in our day. Education.com and Teachers Pay Teachers can provide coloring sheets of maps or flags. This month with Mother Goose Time we are learning about Alphabet Island. Its more than learning about what words begin with what letters. It’s about learning the way the letters sound in different words and letter recognition when the letter is not at the beginning of the word. But this theme doesn’t just have to be about the island and the letters. It can also be about the different cultures that live on islands.
I decided to turn my focus to Hawaii.
During the luau day, we made leis and watched a video on traditional dancing and why the dancing took place. After that we learned a hula dance. Here is the link to the video that I found on Amazon for the day. For Volcanoes, we explored the volcanoes on the islands and I explained to them the difference between inactive and active volcanoes. The one thing I have found very hard to find is books on the Culture geared toward children.
I have challenged myself for the next year to find a way to connect a new culture to the theme of the month and to gather resources needed to help children understand what we are learning.
So stay tuned for our year of diversity!