Children attending schools located in or nearby cities are likely to have a more diverse population. Studies show that diversity of culture, race, gender, and religion in primary schools can help children become more emotionally mature, open-minded, sympathetic, and generally intelligent than in more homogeneous schooling situations.
Even if the primary school your child is attending is not so diverse, there are still ways to incorporate and celebrate diversity so that children have a more broad and open-minded view of the world.
By integrating diversity into education, students can learn about cultures, religions, races, countries, and languages that are different from their own. In geography, they can learn about different countries and cultures and what they practise; in history they can learn about important figures that are often ignored in western media; and in religious education they can learn about many different religions and what they believe.
After learning about these different parts of the world, children can get creative and celebrate different aspects of diversity. For example, it might be fun to throw a Hanukkah day to learn about Judaism, or to spend a month reading literature by people of colour to celebrate Black History Month, or spend a day learning braille and sign language. By opening up the educational spectrum to more than just reading words in a book or listening to a teacher talk, children are much more able and willing to learn in a way that’s fun and memorable.
Engaging Empathy and Challenging Stereotypes
Children have a strong sense of fairness in their life, and as such can be naturally more sympathetic and empathetic than adults. Use their natural instincts by putting themselves in other people’s shoes and challenging stereotypes. What challenges might a wheelchair user encounter in everyday life? What jobs are normally associated with men not women and why? What about the other way around? How different would life be if English was your second language? Do you judge people differently based on what clothes they are wearing?
You might be surprised at the reaction you get from children. Engaging their brains about diversity at a younger age can be much more effective than waiting until they are pre-teens, teenagers or adults.