With the holiday season beginning earlier each year, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everything that needs to get done. We invite you today to take a step back and think about how your child’s daycare (and you!) can celebrate diversity during this busy time of year.
Set the Stage for Diversity
When entering the center, what decor do you see? Centers can consider a collaborative display that showcases diversity in a positive and respectful manner by adding photos of the center’s families in past celebrations. Activities that explore various cultural celebrations during the holiday season will help to foster understanding and tolerance.
Drawing from Families
Is there a parent committee? Centers can invite parents from different cultural backgrounds to share their holiday traditions during a parent meeting. If interest continues to grow, centers may want to organize cultural exchange events where families can participate and learn from one another.
Teachers can invite parents to be a guest reader in their child’s classroom. Books that feature diverse characters and holiday traditions from around the world are a great way for children to feel represented and to spark their interest in learning more. (See below for some of our favorites!)
Our Favorite Day of the Year A Winter Walk in the City Holidays Together
by A.E. Ali by Cathy Goldberg Fishman by Sophia Day
Open Communication and Collaboration
Hopefully by now, you have established a relationship of open communication and collaboration with your child’s caregivers. Most of them are looking for parent involvement to help plan any celebrations within the classroom. This is an opportunity to ensure centers are inclusive of all families. Teachers haven’t asked for volunteers yet? Take the initiative and let them know you are ready when they are.
Beyond the planned decor, songs, books, and classroom celebrations are the day to day conversations that caregivers have with the children. Pause and listen to see if inclusive language that respects different belief systems and traditions is being used. (See our Instagram post on some alternative questioning for children!)
As our children’s classrooms become more diverse, it is necessary to re-evaluate how the holiday season has traditionally been addressed to ensure we are not causing discomfort for families to the point of alienation. With open communication, respect and a bit of mindfulness, daycare centers can continue to be a place that children and families feel welcome, no matter the time of year.