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PRESCHOOLERS AND CULTURAL AWARENESS
  

Preschoolers learn through things that are familiar and meaningful to them.  So when we want to begin teaching them about diversity, we need to start by showing them, how the things they are familiar with, are similar, yet different from those used in other cultures. 

We also need to be careful and keep all discussions about other cultures to the present time.  Past histories are beyond the understanding of most preschoolers, since they have not yet developed an understanding of time and distance.  We need to point out how alike we are to other cultures, with only minor differences.

Preschool is the time to teach Cultural Awareness through familiar likes and differences rather than studying other countries or cultural histories.

I recommend that parents and teachers teach Cultural Awareness by studying simple themes such as Shoes, Hats, or Baskets.  Bring in examples that the children are familiar with and discuss their uses, what they are made of, how are they made, or where do we get new ones.  Then display examples of culturally different ones, that might actually be found in their community.  If you want, bring in pictures from books or magazines that show people using these objects around the world.  Discuss, how the objects are the same and how they are different.  In your planning, don’t forget to explore the object through as many senses and curriculum areas as possible.

Other fun topics  to investigate would be common foods from around the world, such as Corn, Rice and Bread.  Let your children try examples of these foods in recipes from different cultures.

More fun units, would be Toys, Pets, Instruments and Birthday celebrations.

Diversity is all around us.  Keep things simple and meaningful, and help children find worth and uniqueness in all variations of common foods and objects.