How to teach about different cultures in preschool

Written by becky swain
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How to teach about different cultures in preschool
Preschool children are naturally curious about cultural differences. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Preschool children sort toys by size, colour or function without instruction. Similarly, preschoolers develop an awareness that langages, religious practices and customs differ, but look to the adults in their environment to provide meaning to the observations. Preschool teachers can respond to this curiosity by incorporating multicultural activities into the curriculum. Enable your children to develop positive feelings about their cultural heritage in a classroom where all cultures are valued. Include a variety of hands-on multicultural activities in a curriculum that prepares preschoolers for success in a multicultural world.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Share multicultural books with the children. Give the books a prominent place in the classroom library, and share them during story time. Use the books as introductions for multicultural art, music, games and circle time activities. For example, read the story, "It's OK to Be Different," by Todd Parr. Encourage the children to talk about how they are different. Let the children draw pictures that illustrate how they are different and make a class book with the pictures. Share the story, "We All Sing With the Same Voice," by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene. Discuss that children from all cultures like to sing. Introduce songs from other cultures.

  2. 2

    Permit the children to select the colour of paper, paint and crayons they prefer on a daily basis. When compiling art supplies for your classroom, include multicoloured paper, paint, crayons and modelling compound. Multi-coloured art supplies include shades of tan, brown and peach that allow children to use colours that match their skin tones. Diversity is easily recognised when all children are portrayed realistically. Children can learn that diversity is normal.

  3. 3

    Present cultural diversity in your activity centres and classroom decorations. Represent a variety of cultures with the posters, art, calendars and notice boards featured on your walls. Designate an activity centre for multicultural learning activities. Include multicultural dolls with appropriate cultural attire, a listening station that provides children's songs representative of the culture, and baskets of travel brochures and clothing for dramatic play. Introduce a weekly art project, music activity and story to supplement the materials in the activity centre. Rotate the items featured in the activity centre to provide learning opportunities about other cultures for the children.

  4. 4

    Teach diversity through food by planning a multicultural feast. Enlist the help of parents to provide food from another culture. Let the children decorate the room with multicultural art projects. Play music that is representative of several cultures and let the children share popular children's songs with the visitors.

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