Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity
Diversity and inclusivity play a large role in our day-to-day routine here at Willows Pre-School. Teaching children to have cultural awareness from a very early age is the best way forward to crack those stereotypes and help prevent future classroom racism and bullying. We incorporate a wide range of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in our classrooms and amongst our staff. We want to help young children identify with the diverse communities around them through communication, creativity, and confidence building, while delivering important and universal messaging around mindfulness, diversity, and sustainability.
Celebrating diversity is a great way of bringing people together. It teaches us about different cultures, ethnicities, religions, races and more! Celebrating our similarities and differences also allows us to not only understand how unique we all are, but to also gain confidence it what makes us different.
Here at Willows Pre-School, we celebrate diversity and inclusivity in a wide range of ways. One of which is through storytelling. We use stories that are enriching children’s understanding of diversity and inclusivity. These stories range from Bilal Cooks Daal, by Aisha Saeed- a story about a young boy who makes Daal for his friends who have never tried it before, to My Princess Boy, by Cheryl Kilodavis – a book about a boy who is teased for wearing dresses to school, or Mixed by Aree Chung- a book about a world where colours do not mix until blue and yellow become inseparable and show the world the possibilities that lie ahead. All these stories and many more make up a large library of stories we use to help our children understand what diversity and inclusion not only means, but what it looks like in the real world.
At Willows Hammersmith we have a wide range of cultures, religions, and nationalities. We use our demographic and teach the children a range of different languages as well as learning new languages together from our peers. An example of this is during circle time when the children say good morning to their friends, they will choose a flag on the board (a flag representing the nationality of each child in the group), and they will say hello in that language. We also try to include everyday words from the children’s home languages to help them to feel more included and continue to build on that school-home bond.
Whatever language a child speaks, there is one language we all understand and that is music! We have set music sessions twice a week with a music teacher who encourages the children to learn new songs and experiment with sound. We also encourage the children to listen to music from around the world, play instruments from different countries and sing songs in different languages.
We are exceptionally lucky here at Willows Pre-School that we are one of two nurseries that have obtained the Early Years Specialist Nutrition Award. Whilst cooking the children fresh, well-balanced and healthy meals, we also incorporate foods from different cultures and countries. For example, we make Chinese style noodles when celebrating Chinese New Year. We routinely offer the children foods they may not have tried before such as Moroccan tagines, Daal, Kedgeree, and homemade puddings such as mince pies at Christmas and strudels etc. Giving the children the chance not only to try different foods in a healthy way, but also allowing them to share their home experiences of food with their peers in a positive, welcoming environment.
What better way to celebrate diversity and inclusivity than by participating in religious and cultural celebrations! Here at Willows, we teach as many different celebrations as we can, incorporating the nationalities, cultures, and religions of all our staff and children. Some of the more recent celebrations we have participated in have been Eid, Raksha Bandhan, and Harvest. Each year, in the last week of September, we also celebrate Multi-Cultural Day. On this day we invite the children and staff to come in wearing clothes from different cultures and countries of their choosing. We look at everyone’s spectacular outfits and talk about the places they come from as well as trying new fruits and vegetables from around the world and playing culture-themed games such as musical statues with music from around the world. Inclusivity and diversity is such a special and diverse way to make everyone feel welcome and supported and we cannot wait to explore and find new creative ways to promote it further!