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This month at Hopster we are celebrating diversity. We think it’s never too early to share positive messages that teach children acceptance, inclusion and kindness.
In the early years children are still gaining a sense of who they are and what makes them unique. By exploring diversity we can help children gain a sense of their own identity and help them feel good about themselves, their families and communities; as well as beginning to understand that everyone is different.
At this young age, diversity can be introduced through sharing multicultural picture books or simply learning to say hello in different languages. Many nursery settings will create self-portraits with the children; this is a great tool for allowing kids to discuss skin colour, race and beauty using positive vocabulary.
Celebrating diversity in all people and talking openly about it with children encourages them to have a healthy respect for differences and to appreciate the wonderful, diverse world we live in.
It is during the pre-school years that children first begin to notice physical aspects of identity; they become increasingly aware of gender, followed by curiosity about skin color, hair color and texture, and other physical attributes. This is why it is the perfect time to start exploring diversity, so that our children learn tolerance and acceptance from the get go.
At such a young age they tend to think in simple ways and can readily apply stereotypes such as: boys have short hair while girls have long or children with disabilities can’t play sports. Challenging this thinking provides real learning opportunities that promotes lifelong understanding and empathy and encourages them to have a healthy respect for differences whether it’s gender, race, religion or culture.
We all have a part to play in raising globally aware kids that treat each other with tolerance and kindness. Our content embraces diversity and reflects our global society; here are a few of our favourites that will support you and your child with learning about diversity:
Bino & Fino: An educational cartoon which teaches children about African culture. This show steers clear of what children might know as ‘typical’ Africa and instead focuses on the lives of a brother and sister growing up in an African city with the same aspirations as everyone else.
Punky: A wonderfully unique cartoon about a 6 year old girl called Punky who has Down Syndrome. The show centres around her everyday life and includes lots of unforeseen mishaps along the way. Children will see many similarities between themselves and Punky.
Adventures of Zee: The main character in this show is an outgoing and energetic 6 year old Arab girl. Zee is fearless and adventurous and goes on many amazing adventures where she finds out more about different people and fascinating cultures.
Sesame Street Books: These storybooks star some of Sesame Street’s best loved characters, and their friend Julia, who has autism. These are great stories to share together, to help children understand that sometimes kids with autism will do things differently yet they still want to play, have fun and make friends just like them.
Sense: This is our ‘multi-sensory’ game which is designed to help kids with emotional and sensory needs. Much like a sensory room; it is a calm, relaxing place that helps reduce agitation and anxiety for all children but especially those living with autism, while engaging and delighting them.