Cultural diversity is an important part of the curriculum at Montessori Preschool Chatsworth. Children are not born with biases or prejudice. By encouraging children to think in terms of accepting the differences of others, they also learn to be courteous and fair. But cultural diversity is not a specific topic to be taught, it is simply a matter of course in an amazingly diverse world.
Diversity is NaturalBy introducing Montessori preschool children to the diversity of nature, the concept of human diversity is easy to understand. Just as there are plants and animals that similar but look or act differently, people may look different or have a differing set of abilities. Being different does not make one flower less important than another, and the same reasoning carries over to cultural differences as well.
Cultural ActivitiesCultural activities can take a wide range of forms. World maps, country flags, traditional costumes, language, and the foods we eat are all excellent ways to introduce cultural diversity. The world is not divided by politics in the minds of children, it is a melting pot of ideas and exciting differences that need to be explored. How they are exposed to cultural differences as children will determine their reactions as adults.
Language and CustomsStarting with the fact that the English language is made up of bits and pieces of many other languages, teaching children that people of other cultures have different words is part of the Montessori Method. Singing songs with roots in other cultures is a popular way to teach cultural diversity in language. Similarly, learning to use polite manners uses different words and gestures in other cultures, and that opens the door for an exciting game cultural exchange.
The world is a huge, diverse collection of people. But underneath differences in how we talk or dress, and what we eat or how we dance, we are all the same. We cry when we are hurt, laugh when we are happy, and sometimes struggle to accomplish things. Accepting the cultural and physical differences of others is an important step in childhood development.