Activities to promote cultural diversity to preschoolers

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Preschool children are sensitive to cultural diversity before they enter preschool. They bring many unanswered questions, concerns and a willingness to discover how people are different. The preschool teacher can create a learning environment that encourages all children to value and accept cultural diversity.

A child who learns to value cultural differences in a school setting can generalise and apply the values to his/her community.

Multicultural Book Activity

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Let preschoolers make a multicultural classroom book to help them recognise different cultures and customs. Ask the children to cut out pictures from magazines and travel brochures that they will glue to cardboard. Encourage each child to tell a brief story about his picture. Write a summary of the story and include it on the page featuring the child's picture. Punch holes in the cardboard pages and secure them with ribbon.

Exploring Skin Tones Activity

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Encourage your preschoolers to increase their awareness and appreciation of different skin tones. Provide nylon knee-high stockings in black, brown, tan, white, pink, yellow and red shades. Let the children try the stockings on their hands and arms or feet and legs. Ask each child if he can find a stocking that matches his skin, and then find a stocking that is lighter and darker than his skin. Demonstrate that skin is not white, pink, yellow or red. Explain that different skin tones are interesting.

Friendship Snack Activity

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Send a note home to parents requesting that a favourite snack food be placed in a zippered plastic bag. Include suggestions such as raisins, dry cereal or goldfish-shaped crackers. Mix all the snacks in large bowl and serve for snack time. Talk about how the different items blended together to create a delicious snack. Read a book about cultural diversity and discuss how many different cultures make up their school, neighbourhood and community. For a variation of the snack activity, plan a weekly snack from another culture.

Hairstyle Collage Activity

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Help preschoolers explore the multicultural differences in hair texture, curl, style and colour. Provide pictures for the children of different hairstyles and samples of hair care products suited for specific hair types. Talk about the differences between fine and coarse textures, straight and curly hair and different hair colours. Take a picture of each child, print the pictures and let the children place their pictures in a collage.