Inspiring children to appreciate diversity is possible through modeling, responding and teaching in our everyday experiences.
Children learn from their parents and other influential adults in their lives. A seemingly innocent comment can shape a child’s belief about an individual or a group and leave a lasting mark in their mindset forever. Adults need to be conscious of the language they use in front of children, much of which was learned when they were young by the adults in their lives.
How adults respond to instances also plays a part in how children conduct themselves. If adults stand by while expressions of hate and prejudice are spoken, it sends a clear message to children that tolerance is acceptable. Adults should be seen as advocates for acceptance and respect and not simply bystanders.
There are hundreds of online articles which teach children to appreciate diversity, and there is a list of suggestions in an article by Jane Bluestein. The author says her experience shows the power of one caring adult can significantly influence a child’s beliefs, behavior and the rest of their life.
For more information on Appreciating Diversity: What Kids are Really Learning, click here.