12 Pillars - Cultural Diversity
Australia is an incredibly diverse country filled with so many different cultures. Our own indigenous culture 'Aboriginal' consists of hundreds of different tribes, languages and traditions across our country. Developing an understanding of other people and their cultures is about having awareness, respect and recognition of the diversity around us. Guiding and supporting children to respect multiple ways of knowing, seeing and living and to celebrate diversity as well as understanding and honouring differences helps establish positive attitudes and perspectives towards others. Recognising, learning about and celebrating other cultures provides children with opportunities to develop their sense of belonging while becoming more aware of our differences and similarities. Our aim as educators is to foster interactions between different cultures, develop relationships and grow an appreciation for all of our differences. We also aim to provide children with opportunities to gain knowledge of various cultural practices, beliefs, celebrations and traditions.
Why is it so important to recognise and honour culture in the early years?
Cultural background gives children a sense of who they are. Unique cultural influences that children respond to from birth, like customs and beliefs around food, artistic expression, language and religion, affect the way they develop-emotionally, socially, physically and linguistically.
If a child's self identity is not recognised or understood in their education environment it can significantly hinder their learning journey.
Educators who are culturally competent, will be able to help support children of all cultural backgrounds to learn and flourish by showing an understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and how they make each child uniquely valuable.
The early years are a key period of mental and emotional growth, helping to shape future perspectives and experiences. Childhood environments and how children respond to them can predict their life course for health and well-being as adults.
The ways that educators show an understanding of diverse cultures can significantly impact a child's development in many ways, such as in self confidence and their ability to be comfortable interacting with others.
Cultural awareness and recognition increases children's sense of belonging and enables other children to develop an awareness and understanding of each others differences and similarities.
Honouring diversity and culture not only increases a child's awareness, appreciation and inclusion of diverse beliefs and cultures but builds a child's self confidence and skills.