For many of us, dealing with different cultures can lead to a feeling of self-consciousness and conflict. Early childhood educators experience these feelings with students and their families on a daily basis. In a field that is constantly evolving, we must also evolve with our changing surroundings, especially when working with preschool students and families at Early Learning Foundations (ELF).

So, the question many may ask is: “How does one incorporate different cultures into the classroom?”
The answer is simple: Research. Create. Assess. Have fun!

Consider these tips when implementing cultures into your curriculum:

  • Do your homework. Research the backgrounds of your student population. Invite families into the classroom to discuss their individual cultural backgrounds.
  • Collaborate. When families visit the classroom, discuss what new activities they can introduce to your students, especially cultures that may be unfamiliar to your students.
  • Surf the web. As educators, we constantly use all our resources to assist us in our planning. The information highway is your friend; do not be scared, the resources are limitless!
  • Dare to think outside of the box. You will be surprised by what you can create and how amazing the end result will be. And, if it doesn’t work it is okay. Try a different approach next time.
  • Visit the local public library to find books and other resources on different cultures.
  • Create and assess lesson plans catered to your students’ attention span.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

African Mask Project:

Some of our preschool classes in ELF recently celebrated African culture by creating African masks. The children loved this fun art project! The activity is appropriate for ages 3 years and up. If you are crafting with older children, have them examine some African masks online.

Pre-Cut Blank Masks
Colorful Feathers
Collage Pieces

Allow children to explore all the art mediums you have available using the provided materials. Once dry, poke little holes at the side of the mask and lace elastic string for children to wear. Have a traditional African celebration with children wearing their masks!

Additional websites on cultures and diversity in the classroom:

By: Karyn Smith, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool
Karyn Smith is the head teacher of the Polar Bear classroom at Early Learning Foundations and has been teaching early childhood education for more than six years. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing a dual-advanced certificate at St. John’s University. Although education is her passion, she also loves fashion and creating her own jewelry,