Promoting Diversity in Your School Setting

As we celebrate Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (15th March – 21st March 2021) now is a great chance to talk about diversity and inclusion and its place in early years and primary school settings – Most importantly sharing ways we can continue to address, promote and embrace it.

While we share similarities with each other, we are all unique and it’s important for us to recognise our differences so we can become more accepting of one another.

From an early age, infants and children will encounter people with varying abilities from various backgrounds, cultures, and groups. Kids are curious by nature and also self-aware so will often notice people’s similarities and differences.

We all know children are not shy when it comes to expressing their curiosity! As parents, teachers, educators, and carers, it’s our duty to help children make sense of the diverse world we live in. Whether that’s through daily conversations, activities, or routines, it’s important to introduce the topic of diversity within schools so children can form a realistic view of the world and people in it, without judgement.

Promoting diversity in early years and primary school settings

Promoting diversity in the early years and within primary schools is essential for developing open-minded, kind, and loving children. Not only will this increase their awareness and appreciation of others, but it also lets them know that it’s ok to be different. By allowing children to recognise and celebrate each other’s similarities and differences they become more accepting of themselves and the individuals around them.

The importance of valuing diversity

There should be a focus on creating an environment where children understand that every person they interact with is special in their own way. From an educational standpoint, learning about diversity gives children a greater depth of knowledge, but will also make them more confident, understanding, and empathetic. Teaching children these skills will better prepare them for situations they may encounter later in life.

We often think of diversity as a difficult conversation to have but it doesn’t have to be. Diversity can be easily spoken about in your setting and there are many ways you can show children that diversity is a strength.

Ways to address, celebrate and embrace diversity in schools

Talk to the children about diversity

Simply talking to children about diversity and inclusion can make a huge difference in how they perceive their peers and others around them. Let them know it’s OK to notice differences and ask questions about people who may look different to them. Two of the most important things to consider when talking to children openly about diversity are using respectful terminology and always using positive explanations.

Celebrate awareness days and festivals

Throughout the year there are tons of events, days, weeks, and even months celebrating various groups, cultures, and important topics. From Down Syndrome Awareness Week to World Autism Day and Diwali to Hanukkah, there are several events and cultural festivals which recognise and celebrate the diversity of others around the globe. You can make learning inclusive, fun, and dynamic for the children in your setting by celebrating all festivals equally.

Use a diverse range of resources in your Setting

We have a wide selection of amazing resources to assist you in promoting diversity within your setting including, a range of multi-ethnic and multicultural dolls. Use our very own Down’s Syndrome Dolls to start conversations about disabilities and create an inclusive environment. The Down’s Syndrome Dolls are a great way to illustrate that disabled does not mean unable. Having a diverse, inclusive range of resources and materials available at your disposal creates plenty of opportunities for you to talk about diversity using various mediums.

Now’s the time to reflect on what you do

As we support and help children navigate the world, as parents and professionals we should constantly be doing what we can to positively praise their uniqueness and let them know they are special.

Now’s the time to reflect on how you promote diversity in your setting and look to what you can do to actively celebrate our diverse society. Having the right resources available will make the process a lot easier for you.

The Down’s Syndrome Association has useful resources available for schools that will help children understand what Down’s Syndrome is. They have put together a presentation to be used with children in your setting so you can appropriately talk to them about similarities, differences, and being unique.

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