We all want our children to be peaceful and accepting of others.  We can teach them that, while there are so many ways humans can be different from each other, those differences (and our similarities) should be celebrated.

Setting an Example

Our children constantly look to us as models for their own behavior.  We can take the lead by embracing the values we hope to see in our children.  This starts by educating ourselves.  We can learn about different cultures and groups of people.  We can confront our biases and consider how they might be coloring our view of the world.  We can read about current issues in social justice and decide what responsibilities we have as individuals to make the world a more equitable place for all people.

Read Together

There are many quality books written for children about this very topic.  Below are but a few.

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña (Illustrated by Christian Robinson)

This book was the 2016 Newbury Medal Winner. It also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and a Caldecott Honor.  It’s about a little boy rides the bus with his grandmother after church each Sunday.  His grandmother’s laugh guides him through the journey as they meet a wide variety of people.

The Ugly Vegetables, by Grace Lin

Award-winning author Grace Lin wrote this charming book for young children. A daughter helps her mother in their garden but becomes dismayed when she sees it is full of “ugly vegetables” while the neighbors are all growing flowers.  The soup her mother makes, and the gathering of neighbors, teaches her the value of differences.

The Sandwich Swap, by Queen Rania al Abdullah & Kelly DiPucchio (Illlustrated by Tricia Tusa)

Salma and Lily are best friends. One day, a conflict arises over their sandwiches at lunchtime (pita with hummus, and peanut butter with jelly).  The food that threatens to end their friendship ultimately binds them together again.

The Family Book, by Todd Parr

Todd Parr’s books are simple, yet his bright illustrations and straightforward story are perfect for young children. The Family Book highlights many different types of families and ends by saying, “There are lots of different ways to be a family.  Your family is special no matter what kind it is.”

You Hold Me Up, by Monique Gray Smith (Illustrated by Danielle Daniel)

Smith says that she wrote You Hold Me Up “to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families.”

Experience Together

There are so many ways a family can have fun together while encouraging curiosity, understanding, and empathy with different groups of people.  Think about the activities your family already enjoys and find ways to make those activities learning experiences.

Do you and your family enjoy cooking?  Try whipping up new recipes from different cultures around the world.  Preparing and sharing a meal is one way we all bond, so why not explore other cuisines?

Many cities and towns hold festivals celebrating the cultures of the various people who live there.  Music, food, traditional crafts, and performances can be a fun way to learn about another culture.

Does your family love music?  Visit your library to borrow CDs or find some audio clips online.  Music from around the world can inspire your child to sing and dance.  Grab any instruments you may have on hand (or make your own!) to join in on the fun.

Share Your Own Experience

Each family has its own unique history, heritage, and traditions.  Teach your child about their ancestors, where your family originated, and what makes your family special.  Offer to share these traditions at school.  We love to have parents come in for special presentations.  Whether you teach the children to prepare a snack, sing a song, or read them a traditional story, every new bit of cultural learning gives them a broader view of their world.

Let’s open the world for our children so that they may share it peacefully with each other.

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Prepare your child for life.

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At Pearlily Montessori, we educate children 3-6 years old and support them in becoming independent, responsible students who love to learn. Learn more about:

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