Selecting Materials to Reflect Children’s Cultures and Languages

When selecting materials for the children in your program, the choices you make shape how the children work, play, explore and learn.  Choosing materials that reflect children’s cultures and home languages promotes respect for diversity.  Filling your classroom environment with materials that reflect who they are also creates a sense of belonging and acceptance for children.  Additionally, diverse materials can encourage curiosity and discussion, enabling other children to learn more about the world around them.

How to Begin:  The easiest approach to incorporating your children’s cultures and home languages is to ask their families for ideas.  Family members are one of the most important resources for you and they should be encouraged to share information about their traditions and values.

  • Consider asking families to provide empty food containers or other common household items that represent their particular culture and are familiar to their children.
  • Display pictures of families and other images that represent the various cultures in your classes.
  • Label objects in multiple languages.
  • Include books in other languages and ones describing a range of cultures.
  • Explore foods important in other cultures.

Remember:  All children have diverse backgrounds and traditions.  In sharing materials that are rich in your children’s cultures and languages, you provide the opportunity to weave an understanding and acceptance of these differences throughout your entire program.