We read the book, The Colours of Us by Karen Katz during circle time, as part of an ongoing celebration of multiculturalism and diversity in our classroom. The book is “A tasty tale that showcases the many colours of skin we’re in.” Multiculturalism, like international mindedness cannot be taught in isolation or purely as a stand alone ‘event’. It has to be lived everyday and embedded in the culture of an organisation.
We combined the circle time story ‘The Colours of Us’ with our science unit, ‘Animals including Humans’ with a focus on ourselves. The children enjoyed the book thoroughly. It is narrated by a 7 year old girl, who compares the different colours of the skin to various delicious foods like peanut butter, marzipan, chestnut, vanilla taffy, cinnamon, coffee and many more. The association of skin colour with food is a positive affirmation of the variety of skin tones.
We explored the different colours of skin in class. The picture below was a simple activity to see the different shades of brown. The book enabled us to explore diversity in a reassuring and uplifting way.
We then decided to create a collage of all the children’s faces in the class. We mixed paint and made some shades of brown and children used mirrors and each other’s perspectives to paint or colour in their features.
Children learned that people can be different and unique yet have so many similarities and so much in common. There is beauty in cultural diversity that exists in the variety of skin colours.
This is our final display and its going to go up on our class door!
We enjoy reading books and multicultural stories from around the world.
Some of the favourites in my class, this year, have been:
The books ‘Hair’ and ‘I love my hair’ were read to celebrate the different colours, textures and styles of hair we find in our class.
There are so many ways in which multiculturalism can be embedded in the ethos of a class:
- classroom environment which includes the climate (open mindedness, acceptance), space, set up and displays,
- books we read or the books that children can choose from, to take home,
- interactions and discussions including space to disagree, share opinions and points of view,
- learning about different customs, traditions, values, beliefs etc,
- themes and topics of study (multicultural perspectives while planning),
- addressing stereotypes and generalisations about cultures, communities or gender,
- variety of approaches to teaching and learning while catering to a range of needs,
- encouraging student interest and child centred learning,
- celebrating our cultural diversity and similarities by inviting parents to enrich our curriculum
- reading and learning about transition and making time to talk about the gamut of emotions that make for transition education
- educating children about ‘third culture kids‘ or what makes them ‘global nomads’.
How do you ensure that multiculturalism is celebrated and embedded in your class?
Are there any books that you have recently read to your class that celebrate diversity?