Clayton Early Learning
12Dec/12Off

Multicultural Learning through Family Involvement

claytonearlylearning

At Clayton we work hard to reflect culturally relevant programming that is responsive to the community and families we serve.  By embracing the daily experiences of the students, their families and the community, we hope to create connections and teach students how to investigate and integrate diverse ways of thinking and doing.  None of this work is possible without the involvement of the family.  Everyone from our teachers and child family educators to our kitchen and helpdesk support staff have a genuine investment in each family that walks through the front doors of our school.  Our upcoming Culture Night is a night for us to showcase our families in a way that encourages multicultural learning in its rarest form.  As we are working hard on our events for the evening we meet and interview parents so they can guide the vision and ensure authenticity to the displays we put together.  We use their memories, draw upon their traditions and cook recipes that have passed down through generations alongside the families themselves.

Multicultural Principles for Head Start Programs Serving Children Ages Birth to Five: Culturally relevant programming requires staff who both reflect and responsive to the community and families served (7); Multicultural programming for children enables children to develop awareness of, respect for, and appreciation of individual cultural differences (8).   Multicultural Learning is learning that integrates and explores the rich tapestry of perspectives reflected in the world around us. It occurs when differences among learners are both valued and explored. Multicultural learning recognizes and reaches across boundaries of ability, age, class, gender, nationality, race, religion and other personal, social and cultural identities.  Research supports the idea that children's early childhood experiences are powerful in influencing their cultural understandings (Banks, 1993).  Kids from around the worldThere are many types of activities and resources that can enhance children's multicultural learning.  Family stories, written by children and parents about themselves as families and shared in the classroom, can stimulate tremendous growth and sensitivity; you can find some of these stories in our hallways and in children’s individual portfolios.  Displays throughout each of our classrooms include representations of people from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds engaged in meaningful activities. These displays vary from family photos, original work by the children in the class and contributions from children's parents.  We often as educators use parents as our primary resource; asking families to share cultural items like artifacts, pictures, family recipes, dramatic play props, music and stories.  This is just one of the many ways we use family involvement to create a multicultural environment.

References

Banks, J. (1993). Multicultural Education for Young Children: Racial and Ethnic Attitudes and Their Modification. In B. Spodek (Ed.), Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children. New York: Macmillan. ED 361 107.

Mulitculuralism in Education. (2011). [Graphic illustration Children Around the World, February, 23, 2011]. Multicultural Education. Retrieved from http://jimspremiseblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/multicultural-education.html

 

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