How can children learn about inclusivity and diversity?

What Is Inclusivity and Diversity?

By definition, inclusivity is the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups. Diversity is people belonging to different dimensions. A person belonging to a different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

We live in a diverse world, where children encounter people of different races, cultures and abilities. They make friends with children from different familial structures too. 

Teaching your children about diversity and inclusion is essential, as we all want to raise tolerant, accepting and empathetic children. 

Sometimes, a group will make fun of a person; engage in leg-pulling or name-calling. At other times, the group may act like the person does not exist at all. Usually, one person in the group leads the shaming and others follow the bullying as well.

To make matters worse, adults will suggest “ignore and find someone else to make friends with”. This leads to the child having low confidence issue and over a long run have a self-destructive way too. 

Why should children learn inclusivity?

India has disparities based on geographical, socio-economic, ethnic and gender lines. Inclusive growth can benefit every section of society; the country’s government should pursue it. 

In India, there should be an increased focus on gender equality in schools and institutions. Also, the children from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes population are being supported to bring them into the mainstream, by providing special category for them in the school reservations. So the children can easily make a place for themselves in society.

Children meet people of different races, cultures, and abilities. They make friends with children from different familial structures too. 

If we want the child to grow up, then we need to expose them to inclusivity and diversity from the very beginning. There are many benefits of including inclusivity in children’s lives, not only for children with special needs but for all the children. 

Children learn to accept other people and know that each person is unique. When children with special needs are provided with equal opportunity in the programs and activities as children without special needs, children learn. They learn life-skills, problem-solving skills, have a positive self-image, and respect for others. 

How do we make our children more inclusive?

We must first monitor our behaviours and environment. Think about how we approach diversity, acceptance, and inclusion. This includes the acceptance and endorsement of different opinions and viewpoints. 

The best way to include inclusive habit in a child is by following methods:

  • Encourage the child to make a wide range of friendships; at home; at school; at park/play area and other frequently visited place. As they learn to get along with different kind of people, they will learn to be more accepting too.
  • Do not encourage the use of the nasty word, labelling, fake apologies and cracking cruel jokes on others. 
  • Teach the children to stand up for others.
  • Please keep track of the child’s online activities; tell them that even sharing a hateful post is also like bullying.

Parents report that children enrolled in integrated settings display less prejudice and fewer stereotypes and are more responsive and helpful to others. 

Teachers report that the children become more aware of the needs of others and develop respect for human diversity. Children also learn gratitude for all we have and compassion for the struggle of others.

The process of inclusion allows each person to develop his or her talents and strengths. It also provides opportunities for all of us to develop the much-desired qualities of compassion, empathy, and helpfulness. 

It can teach our children and us that the greater the diversity, the richer our capacity to create a more humane and respectful society.

Books and games are instrumental teaching tools for children. Read a book together and have a conversation afterwards, which will be incredibly impactful. 

Links for the same are below:

11 Children’s Books That Teach Inclusion

7 Books That Teach Kids About Diversity

Classroom Activities from Teaching Tolerance

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