The diversity of cultures, skin colours, religions and languages in classrooms confirms an observation the preschool child made before he entered your classroom: the child sees differences among people. The preschool environment provides a teaching opportunity to enhance understanding about these differences and build an appreciation for diversity and multicultural traditions.
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Travel Agency Learning Center
Designate a learning centre in your classroom as a travel agency. The children can explore colourful posters, travel brochures and samples of currency from a new country each week. Provide a recording of several words spoken in the country's language. Permit the children to purchase tickets that enable them to "travel" to the country during story time. Share a book about the country during story time and talk about favourite activities enjoyed by the children who live there.
Native American Activities
Introduce a native American tradition during circle time that reminds eager preschoolers to listen while others are talking. The child who holds either a "talking stick" or a "talking stone" speaks while others listen. Wrap strips of colourful fabric or ribbon around a wooden dowel and secure with a glue gun or embellish a rock with paint or glitter glue. For another activity, use brown crumpled paper bags and paint them to demonstrate how native Americans used buffalo hides to tell stories with pictures. Discuss that herds of buffalo also provided food, clothing and materials to construct homes. Encourage children to paint pictures on the paper bags to create an original story. Permit the children to share their stories with the class during story time.
Share a story about Hawaii and talk about the Hawaiian culture. Send notes home to parents requesting that the children bring fruit such as bananas, pineapples, papaya, mangoes or coconuts for a class luau. Serve ham and cheese finger sandwiches and frozen lemonade with the fruit. Provide grass skirts, leis and Hawaiian music.
Birthdays Around The World
Preschoolers love birthday parties. Talk about the multicultural traditions associated with children's birthday celebrations. Explore the different customs specific to a new country each week. Teach the children to say, "Happy Birthday" in the country's native language. Incorporate a traditional birthday food and activity from the selected county during snack time. Ask the children to talk about how the country's birthday celebration differs from their own birthday traditions.
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