The United States is a melting pot, and schools are no different. With a variety of cultures come common misconceptions and misunderstandings. Looking for a way to prevent this — and, instead, welcome and celebrate diversity at your child’s school? Use this toolbox. Read on for some simple tips to get you started, plus some key web resources to make it a success.
Tips to get started
- Talk to the principal and/or a social studies teacher about it, and get them on board.
- Start a cultural diversity committee with other parents and invite teachers to join. The committee can make initial, big picture plans for the event.
- Give yourself at least six months to plan the program.
- Decide which countries, cultures and/or faiths you will explore at the event. Be inclusive!
- Include all of the kids. They can choose to focus on their own culture, one of the countries from their heritage, or allow them to choose any culture they wish.
- Ask the most enthusiastic committee members to head that culture’s team.
- Involve as many interested people as possible.
- To increase attendance, help or ask teachers to build curriculum around the event.
- Stephanie Bonner-Daniels, a graduate of Allen Park High School who spearheaded her school’s diversity program, recommends that if you want change, you have to ask for it. “Speak out about how you feel,” she suggests, “and have food involved!”
Here are some resources that can help jumpstart your program.
- KidsTurnCentral: Learn about holidays around the world in this glossary.
- Concert of Colors: Detroit’s own cultural music festival usually hits down in July. Read about the event, which will be celebrating its 28th anniversary in 2020.
- TeacherVision.fen.com: Geared at teachers, this site offers a bevy of age- and grade-appropriate activities to explore culture.
- National Education Association: Find links to various diversity resources, from calendars to glossaries.
- Teacher’s Corner: Another great educator-geared site with plenty of links to useful handouts and facts.
- Talking About Race: This section of MetroParent.com is dedicated to resources that can help parents teach their kids about race, racism, diversity and more.
This post was originally published in 2009 and is updated regularly.