The preferences may be in games, food, socialization, and educational media to name but a few (Andersen & Taylor 2005).
In the process of addressing children's needs, there would be a tendency to identify with one's community in order to promote the use of language. However, this could lead to ethnocentrism, which according to CADS Staff (2006), is the inflated tendency to think that the attributes of one's own community, group or race are superior to those of other communities, groups or races. This is a drawback to effective delivery of services to children with diverse cultural needs.
A better approach to address the needs of children is to use a non-ethnocentric approach. This entails dealing with all children and satisfying their needs irrespective of their race, language background, community and so on (CADS Staff 2006). A non-ethnocentric approach must entail all aspects of a society including a harmonising (common) language, encouraging children to use many varieties of food, popularizing socialization ,and so on (Hicks, Glasgow & McNary 2004).
An understanding of non-ethnocentric approaches in handling children and the children's actual needs is important particularly in mixed culture societies. These issues form the basis of discussion of this paper.
Non-ethnocentrism entails dealing with all children (and even adults) and satisfying their needs irrespective of their race, language background, community and so on (CADS Staff 2006). The attitude of non-ethnocentrism is related to a complex set of psychosocial development of a tolerant and strong personality. A non-ethnocentric culture emphasizes on and is capable of enhancing multidimensional thinking, is comfortable with ambiguity, and is characterised by individuals who are of high esteem (Alcoff 2006).
In addressing the needs of children in multicultural societies, a non-ethnocentric approach is essential since it will ensure that all children's needs are addressed irrespective of the children's ethnic background or race. A non-ethnocentric approach in handling children also makes them feel comfortable and appreciate the diversity of culture, behaviour and other aspects of human beings such as language, colour, race and so on.
Apart from being an incentive to needs in multicultural societies, non-ethnocentric mechanisms (such as thinking) facilitate the ability of children to be independent actors and not merely relying on others in decision-making. If children in mixed culture societies are allowed to mingle, they integrate their ideas and therefore develop a wide sense of dependency and reliability in making decisions.
Non-ethnocentrism is therefore the key to addressing children's needs in societies that have no particular defined culture. It is notable that mixed culture societies have differences in colour of people, race and so forth. If the needs of children in such societies are addressed in general without consideration of a particular race or language, the children are