January 17, 2020
SUPPORTING YOUR YOUNG CHILD'S CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Did you know that you are a cultural expert? No one has as much knowledge about your family’s beliefs, values, culture, and traditions as you. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for both teachers and parents to know where to begin in supporting children’s social and cultural development. You can start first with the resources right in your home. What are the foods your family likes to eat? Are they foods from around the world or local restaurants? Create or share a family photo album with your child, discussing your heritage and places around the country where members of your family are from. Lastly, share the cultural knowledge and experiences with your child’s teacher.
Naturally, home environments are rich with our own cultural background and experiences (i.e. photos of family members, traditional food items, music we listen to as a family). Consider ways your home environment can reflect the diversity of the community and country in which you live. For example, try a new recipe from another culture, listen to a different musical genre, or expose your child to books, toys, and puzzles that are non-stereotypical and represent culturally affirming and accurate depictions of diverse cultural groups. You can also label common items in the home in your native language and one your family may be interested in learning together. Culture matters when helping to support your child’s early learning and development.
As you continue to explore how to best support your child’s social and cultural development the following are children’s books and a website for you to consider:
Whoever You Are, Mem Fox
I Like Myself, Karen Beaumount
What I Like About ME! Allia Zobel Nola
We’re Different, We’re The Same, Bobbi Kates and Joe Mathieu
All the Colors of the Earth, Shelia Hamanka
A South African Night, Rachel Isadora
Who’s in a Family? Robert Skutch and Laura Nienhaus
Source: Culture Matters-Strategies to Support Your Young Child’s Social and Cultural Development, UNL Extension NebGuide, G2242.