Early childhood providers are called upon to do many difficult tasks. One of the most difficult of these is providing our children with diverse, multicultural experiences. Since the beginning of time, young children have been raised by their families, extended families, clans, and communities. Even today, most family child care homes and many early childhood programs tend to be fairly homogeneous and quite similar to the child’s home background. High on the list of criteria parents use to choose child care and early childhood programs are providers and programs who match the parents’ own view of education and discipline, and those who speak the same language and have the same religion (Willer, et. al., 1991). Thus many of our programs – family child care, Head Start, religious programs, and even some neighborhood public schools – are traditional reflections of homogeneous communities in religion, race/ethnicity, language, and socioeconomic status. But now these traditional programs are expected to provide our children with experiences outside of their groups, offering opportunities to teach them to be tolerant, respectful, and accepting of differences. It’s quite a challenge!
Read more: Early Childhood News