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Celebrating Diversity in Children During the New Year

Celebrating Diversity in Young Children

This is the perfect time of the year for celebrating diversity.  We encourage all parents who attend Pretend City Children’s Museum to expose your children to the beautiful cultural celebrations of the holidays. All month long we were celebrating Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas and Kwanzaa.  We feel that embracing diversity education is perhaps the most important gift you can give to your children this season.  By exposing children to diversity, they begin to develop an understanding and interest in people that may seem different from themselves.

Celebrations are one of the best ways to be able to talk to very young children about different beliefs and customs. By participating in cultural celebrations children learn with all of their senses. Young children need very tangible and recognizable things to build their understanding of differences. Celebrations provide these with things like unique clothing or costumes, decorations, special games and food.  These are very important ways for people to pass down their traditions and culture through generations and provide very powerful experiential learning markers for all children to relate with.

We want children to not only understand other cultures and customs, but we want them to value them for the richness they offer.  Diversity education is the journey from tolerance to appreciation to embracing the uniqueness in others. Success and happiness in today’s diverse world demands that our children find value in their differences as well as their likenesses.

 In times such as these when we are witnessing people acting out for a variety of reasons, it’s important to understand that at the core, these violent acts often have to do with a person feeling different, not accepted or valued.  Teaching our children about how to understand and embrace one another will only benefit our world.  The gift of learning about our diversity empowers children to understand and appreciate someone’s ways, enabling them to feel connected to one another.  As you go through the remaining days of this precious holiday season, our wish to you from all of us at Pretend City is simply, peace and understanding on earth.

Linda Hunter, MA, LMFT Senior Education Director and Chief Operations Officer, Pretend City Linda earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Development and Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from the prestigious Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. Linda joined Pretend City in 2002 prior to its opening and has over 40 years of experience working with children and families in both the fields of early childhood education and family therapy.
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