In this latest blog post, we will look at the importance of diversity. Looking at the topic of diversity at Christmas time is important, especially when a number of services will celebrate Christmas with the children.
Here at Tigers we believe in creating a rich sense of identity and belonging and we have been reflecting on this past Christmas and how we must consider the many ways in which the families in our service celebrate Christmas.
We must also look at the different holidays and celebrations throughout the year, and ensure that each child’s family or cultural background is recognised and celebrated!
This year the staff in our Leopardstown Early Years centre celebrated Hanukkah, all of the children were really interested in learning about this holiday and how their friend celebrates Hannukkah with their family. This is an important part of creating a strong sense of Identity & belonging amongst the children.
Here at Tigers Childcare we are proud of the hard work that happens on the ground in each of our early years and preschool services.
Take a look at some of the celebrations that have recognised the individual holidays, cultures and family traditions that reflect the children who attend our service.
Chinese new year is a big celebration for our centres each year. This year, we asked some of the families to bring in traditional treats or foods from their local Asian food market, we have learned chinese expressions and created some chinese themed art & craft projects. Our sensory play has included experimenting with noodles and chopsticks also. We have chopsticks in our home corner for role play all year round.
One staff member returned from Australia and shared her experience with the children, she brought back Philomena the puppet who told the children all about Australia, the children learned about aboriginal art and explored the technique of using dots to create artwork. In other rooms we have celebrated “Australia Day” and the children had fun with Australian hats and learned about the different animals that live in Australia!
This year we celebrated Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th, a number of families celebrate this special day, Lucia one of our Educators is from Croatia and she shared her family tradition of cleaning your shoes, and leaving them for Saint Nicholas to fill with a gift.
Inclusion is not just about celebrating culture, it is about recognising difference in many forms. This year we celebrated world Autism Day. The children read books that explain what it means to live with Autism. We showed our support by wearing the colour Blue and having a fun filled day with lots of sensory play.
Our classrooms reflect diversity in many forms, from the languages spoken and the greetings used, we know how to greet our families in many languages and encourage the children to say “Ciao” or “Hola” to their friends. We look at families, displaying photos of our immediate or extended families however small or large! We had fun looking at the world map and have displayed the different flags of the various countries and counties we are from.
Inclusion at this time of year is important, as we must recognise that we all have individual backgrounds, with our own values and family traditions. Throughout the year, it is important to recognise Birthdays, Name Days, cultural holidays and celebrations. The more we teach the children about the world, the more we are aware of difference and become accepting of difference. The things that make us different, make us each unique, these are things that should be recognised and celebrated!
To quote Dr. Seuss “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
~Author: Stacy Hevey~