Australia is a beautifully diverse and culturally mixed continent, so it goes without saying that your childcare will host an array of families from different cultures and races. With this in mind, Christmas can be a difficult time of year to celebrate the festivities of the silly season while remaining aware of the cultural sensitivities of children within your care.
In this article we explore why it is important to always consider the differences in cultural holidays whilst celebrating with your children, how to make cultural days of celebration into educational experiences and some meaningful questions to contemplate for the health of your centres diversity.
It is always important to consider the religious and cultural uniqueness of families within your care when it comes to planning any social event. No truer is this statement than when celebrating the festivities of Christmas. This magical time of year can serve as a great educational tool for your educators. Through the planning of open-ended activities in the form of art projects for fine motor skills development, your team can assist children with their early formative skills while introducing them to cultural celebrations.
Your centre staff also needs to ensure that they are respectful of the cultures, beliefs and values of your children, their families and the educators in your service. While it is important to acknowledge holidays, there are a number of issues to be aware of. Firstly, not everyone celebrates the same holidays and it is important to know what your families’ views are to avoid having their child participate in something the family objects to.
The Early Years Learning Framework and the Framework for School Age Care both describe cultural competence as being ‘much more than awareness of cultural differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures’.
Some questions you might like to consider for your service include:
How is cultural competence embedded in your centre and reflected in your values?
Why do your educators need to balance the celebrations of many cultures?
What celebrations are important for the families in your service?
If you require assistance with the planning of your centre's events or would like to have a friendly chat regarding the cultural celebrations of your community, feel free to contact our childcare WHS champion, Karen, on 0423 529 779