Taking the discussion about cultural diversity beyond the usual topics of anti-racism and inclusion but without overlooking these issues, Understanding Cultural Diversity in the Early Years considers current debates around the alleged failure of multiculturalism, and encourages practitioners to utilize their own cultural backgrounds and experiences as a way of developing their teaching.

With an optimistic outlook, and focusing on the advantages for learning that cultural diversity can offer, the book discusses the concepts of culture, multi-culturalism and inter-cultural competence, and describes the principles that underpin good practice. It is packed full of case studies from a variety of early years settings, with ideas to try out and interactive exercises to aid reflection.

Issues covered in the book include:

addressing cultural diversity in staff meetings, and on short training courses; planning a critical audit of your setting; working with parents from a variety of cultural backgrounds; how to explain diversity to young children; the overwhelmingly white British setting; settings where white British children are in the minority; curriculum developments in different parts of the UK, post-devolution

Written for all early childhood students and early years practitioners, it is relevant to anyone interested in inclusion, society and global citizenship.

What is Your Culture?

What is your culture?

This Chapter:

  • Outlines the nature and importance of cultures
  • Uses a fictional example to demonstrate that people do not belong in an uncomplicated way to cultures that have clear and unchanging boundaries
  • Invites you to consider your own cultural identity as a way of underlining some of the key issues
  • Discusses, in particular, the question of ‘Englishness’ as a form of cultural identity

I was sitting in on a staff meeting at a fairly large nursery, listening to a discussion about the steps they would take to improve the setting following a recent review they had conducted. One of the decisions was to purchase more ‘cultural playthings'. I knew what they meant, of course. They were talking about playthings ...

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