Cultural Diversity and Inclusiveness: In the Harper room, the toddler children have been learning and exploring the cultural events celebrated around the world. We commenced this project with first involving the children in Holi Festival celebrations. For the Holi celebrations the educators discussed the significance of the festival for the Indian community living around the world and explored the different ways of celebrating the festival with the children.
To further extend their learning, the educators invited the children to make cornflour based coloured paints thereby relating this experience to an engaging sensory art exploration activity. Afterwards, the dried coloured corn-flour powder was used for a Holi colour run, in which the children were encouraged to have fun throwing the coloured powder at their friends and educators.
Cultural Diversity and Inclusiveness
Leading up to other cultural events celebrated across the world, the children also had the opportunity to participate in Saint Patricks day celebrations. During this time, the educators prompted a variety of sensory, music and art themed learning experiences to explore, learn and investigate the traditions of the Irish communities.
Some of the activities the children participated were creating Shamrock paintings using natural resources, dressing up and dancing to cultural Irish music and engaging in sensory art experiences focusing on green colour theme which is the main colour of the Saint Patricks celebrations.
In connection to Harmony week celebrations, we decided to focus on the theme “Everyone belongs”. During the Harmony week, the educators focused on advocating the importance of respecting and acknowledging everyone regardless of their cultural background or differences in identity. The teaching of this concept was spread across involving the children in first acknowledging the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, The Whadjuk Noongar people who are the traditional custodians of the land we live on and learnt the importance of acknowledging the Elders from the past, present, and emerging. During mat sessions the children practiced the Welcome to Country and looked at learning Noongar words such as ‘Kaya’ (Hello) and ‘Yanga’ (Thank you).
To further enhance children’s learning on Harmony week, the children participated in group experiences that encouraged children to work collaboratively with their peers through active participation in dancing and listening to cultural music and songs of people from different communities, group art experiences and exploring food made in different cultures. It was exciting to observe children’s enthusiasm, interest, and love for cooking as they participated in a hands-on cooking experience with their educators to make Alloo Paratha by following the recipe and guidance of their educators.
These experiences align with the Early Years Learning Frameworks [EYLF] (DEEWR, 2009) principles of Respecting Diversity and upholding children’s right to have their cultures, identities, abilities, and strengths acknowledged and valued. Furthermore, through involving children in culturally inclusive pedagogical practices provides opportunities for children to learn about similarities and difference, about interdependence and how we can learn to live together which in turn foster children’s motivation to learn and reinforce their sense of themselves as competent learners.
– From Harper Room Educators