Trusting classrooms help children thrive
To the editor:
Regarding the importance of respecting the different cultures, races and beliefs of children and their families at an early age:
Early childhood programs serve a wide variety of children and families. When children of different races, cultures, and beliefs attend childcare at an early age, they feel some frustration and fear of finding themselves in an environment and customs that are different from their home. It is critical for early childhood educators to partner and collaborate with families to understand, value, and respect the individual cultures of the children in their classroom and to help children create a safe and trusting environment that allows them to thrive, independently at their own pace and speed. Children who have feelings of positivity and self-confidence and feel respected by their environment and their teachers are more likely to make friends, concentrate better on learning activities, and achieve better developmental milestones.
What I would like to suggest to teachers is to add in their classrooms pictures, words and books in different languages, learn different songs, common phrases of welcome, support and hope in the child’s native language to increase the connection between the caregiver and the child, use kind words with patience and love to further engage with any unresponsive child.
The key is in diversity, equity and inclusion, the children of today must be prepared for a mixed future of languages, races and beliefs. For a world where intelligent mastery and adaptability to what is new and different make our children the men of a better future and with a greater probability of success.
Elizabeth Jach Gonzales
Bilingual child care provider for 14 years