Opening Doors to Inclusion

inclusion written on chalkboardHow do you recognize the various cultures and experience of the children in your program?

Inclusion in child care and early education is an important topic. As you work to ensure inclusivity in your program, here are some practical ideas from Quality Assurance Specialist Petrea Hicks. She has dedicated much of her career in early childhood to inclusivity and the importance of all children being represented equally in their programs and classrooms.

Hicks suggests providers help children see themselves in a positive light by ensuring the books and materials in the learning environment are diverse and help to avoid or combat stereotypes. Fostering an environment that is reflective of a child’s culture and background will help that child to make social-emotional gains from an early age, Hicks said.

Check out these additional three tips for how to be more racially and culturally inclusive in your early childhood program.

  1. Be educated and knowledgeable, with the help of associated training, to ensure your program is being inclusive.
  2. Focus on a child’s strengths. The expectations you have for a child are what fuels them, so be sure to focus on their strengths to build confidence.
  3. Recognize all children at all times. Always celebrate diversity, not just during months honoring history. For example, in addition to recognizing Black History month in February, make a point to have books and materials in your program about African-American culture available throughout the year. Programs should look for books and materials about people who have been influencers in the community and stories about unique experiences specific to various, diverse audiences. Stories should also include diverse characters so children can see themselves in the stories they read.