Development can only be fully understood when it is viewed in the larger cultural context.
child's culture may be the mainstream or dominant culture, or it may be one of many subcultures that can be found in almost any country. Children's experiences and expectations redetermined by their local communities, particularly political and economic state, and specific ethnic or cultural groups. Therefore, each child needs education services that take into account their diverse cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds.
s the world becomes the global village, few countries can lay claim to a truly homogeneous population. Today, multicultural diversity characterizes most countries, for the hs enormous implications for early childhood educators. It highlights the need for dialogue among early childhood educators, both within their own communities and with colleagues from other countries. This collegial communication deepens early childhood educators' understanding of children's similarities and differences. Much in be gained by learning about other countries' values, expectations, and practices that relate to children and education. New (2006) argued that these multiple perspectives broaden educators' understanding of education and children's development, both of which are particularly important in defining early education goals and priorities for the 21st century.
Children do not come to preschool, child care centers or elementary school s "blank sites" on the topic of diversity. Facing and understanding what underlies their thoughts and feelings rekey to empowering children to resist bis. The following is the brief summary of research about how children develop rail identity and attitudes:
* s early s 6 months, infants notice skin color differences. (Ktz, 2007)
* By 2 years of age, children not only notice, they also ask questions about differences and similarities among people.
* How we answer children's questions and respond to their ides is crucial to their level of comfort when learning about diversity. Statements such s, "It's not polite to ask," "I'll tell you later" or "It doesn't matter," do not help children form positive ides bout themselves or pro-diversity dispositions toward others. (Damn-Sparks & BC Task Force, 2006)
* Between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years of age, children also become were off and begin to absorb socially prevailing negative stereotypes, feelings, and ideas about people, including themselves. ll children re-exposed to these attitudes in one form or another, usually through a combination of sources (parents, extended family, neighbors, teachers, friends, TV, children's books, movies). (Damn-Sparks & BC Task Force, 2006)