18 July 2023
Embracing diversity and inclusion in Little Skool-House classrooms
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At Little Skool-House (LSH) , we instil in our little learners key global citizenship skills so they embrace the principles of diversity and inclusion. In today’s interconnected and ever-evolving world, global citizenship skills like cultural awareness and empathy are vital skills that should be nurtured from young. That’s why, at LSH, we hone these foundational skills in our children, shaping them to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Cultivating a Global Mindset
Our curriculum at LSH includes a special topic called ‘People Around Us’ to encourage empathy, acceptance, and respect for others. Through this inquiry-based approach, preschoolers learn about friends from diverse backgrounds and cultures, expanding their worldview. Teachers facilitate meaningful conversations, addressing any questions or misconceptions that arise. By integrating racial harmony education into our curriculum, we lay the foundation for an inclusive and harmonious society, where everyone feels valued, respected, and celebrated.
Fostering Engagement with the Wider Community
At LSH, racial harmony education goes beyond the classroom and extends into festival celebrations like Hari Raya and Deepavali. Parents from different ethnic backgrounds actively participate in sharing sessions, describing how they celebrate these festivals as a family. Children as young as 18 months old are included in these sessions, familiarising themselves with diverse cultural practices. These interactions provide firsthand experiences, breaking down barriers and fostering unity and appreciation for differences, allowing children to embrace diversity wholeheartedly.
“The children are always quick to share about their own family traditions and traditional clothes during these celebrations and are always interested to hear about the traditions of their peers,” shared Ms Claris Cheang, English Teacher at LSH At-Downtown-East. After the sharing, children are encouraged to reflect and share their take home message with their peers. These interactions provide firsthand experiences and foster an appreciation for differences, thereby allowing children to better embrace diversity.
Providing Immersive Cultural Experiences
During our Chinese New Year celebrations, LSH preschoolers have the opportunity to witness lion dance performances. Ms Debra Chia, Senior Teacher at LSH At-Delta-House, shared that during her preschool’s Chinese New Year celebrations, some children were initially scared when they heard the loud sounds from the lion dance performances for the first time. After teachers explained the origin and meaning behind the lion dance, children were more comfortable. In fact, they even incorporated the lion dance into their dramatic play, showcasing their newfound understanding and enthusiasm.
Creating a Welcoming Classroom Environment
When children join LSH, we take the time to talk to their parents and learn about their cultural practices at home. This enables us to create a welcoming environment that respects and acknowledges each child’s background. Debra recalls a time when Hindu parents requested their child to wear a bindi. Debra not only ensured the child wore the bindi but also took the opportunity to educate the entire class about its significance. This inclusive approach helps children learn from one another and fosters mutual respect.
Reinforcing Lessons at Home
To strengthen the lessons on diversity and inclusion, Claris shares some tips for parents. “Select toys or learning materials that reflect a wide range of ethnicities. Provide opportunities for children to ask about physical differences and characteristics among various cultures. Facilitating open discussion about these differences lets children know it is okay to notice them, and encourages appropriate discussion about them,” Claris shared.
Through our well-rounded approach, which includes curriculum integration, cultural immersion, community engagement, and inclusive classroom practices, LSH empowers all its preschoolers to become empathetic, inclusive, and culturally aware individuals who will thrive in our ever-changing world.
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