Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creating a multicultural classroom

"The task for the teacher is to create a context in which children's curiosity, theories and research are legitimated and listened to, a context in which children feel comfortable, and confident, motivated and respected in their existential and cognitive paths and processes". ( Carlina Rinaldi)

There are many ways for educators to create a space that language and culture of children are honored. Each child, educator, and family bring their own culture to our center therefore; we have to work together to make these multicultural environment rich with positive experience for children from different cultures.
We as educators need to create an environment that is welcoming to all children; children feel comfortable and confident.
A Multicultural classroom should acknowledge children's differences and use these differences as foundation for growth and development.
Teachers in multicultural classroom should be open to all difference and put the effort to get to know all the children's culture and to try to do new thing in their classroom; They also have to realize that children from different culture understand and learn in a different path than their own culture and that means that not all children will learn in a same way.
I do believe a teacher who tries to learn only few words of her student's language in the classroom is a way of showing respect to her student's culture furthermore; a teacher who shares those words and use those words in her classroom with other student, create an environment for all children that all children from all cultures are important.
Our classroom should incorporate multiculturalism and diversity all year around to give the children the message that all culture and languages are valuable and important. Multiculturalism should be part of our classroom curriculum everyday.
incorporating multicultural literature and providing books from different languages, cultures in to our library section is very important.
Sharing in our classroom is very important. We can ask children from other culture to share something about their culture, whether something about their traditions, celebrations, or even their food would be very valuable in the classroom. When children share something about their culture, language, or family, they feel proud of themselves and at the same time we send this message to children that all cultures, families, and languages are valuable and important and children's culture are part of our classroom.
Writing Hello in different languages on our entrance door is another way of welcoming all culture to our classroom. Singing Hello song in different language while asking help from children from different countries shows that we respect your language, culture, and we welcome you to our centre.

Some books about diversity, multiculturalism  that would be good to keep in the library of our classrooms are:

  1. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
  2. Families in Many Cultures by Heather Adamson
  3. It's Ok to be Different by Todd Parr
  4. The Ok Book by Todd Parr
  5. The Family Book by Todd Parr
  6. We Are The Earth by Bobbie Kalman
  7. How are we the Same and Differents? by Bobbie Kalman
  8. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
  9. The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston & Tim Warnes
  10. The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf

Dahlberg, G. & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and Politics in Early childhood Edcuation. London and New York : RoutledgeFalmer

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Collectivism Vs. Individualism

Western cultures ( Individualism) emphasize on assertiveness, expressiveness, and competitiveness and Eastern and Southern cultures( collectivism ) emphasize on group harmony and cooperation.

Comparison between the individual characteristics and interaction of  western and eastern cultures:

1. Temperament: Western culture that values assertiveness and independence view this behavior as shyness, fearfulness, and social incompetence, whereas; Eastern culture views this behavior as compliance, obedience and being well mannered.

2. Pro-social behavior: ( helping, sharing, caring).
Researchers has found out by observing among peers and parent child interaction that pro-social behavior is more prevalent among children from eastern culture than western cultures.

3. Cooperation/ competition:  In general children from collectivism countries are more cooperative and less competitive than westernized countries, however; cooperation and competition seems to vary from one person to another and also the new generation seems to be more competitive in even in Collectivism countries.

4. Aggression: Most cultures view physical and verbal aggression  unacceptable and it Leeds to peer rejection in most countries.

5. Social withdrawal: Research has found that the prevalence of reticent behavior is higher among eastern culture than western cultures.

6: Peer relationships: (Friendship varies form one culture to another culture. In some cultures children rarely engage in non-families friendship and some families and some cultures mostly in Eastern cultures spend most of their time with their immediate and extended families.

7. Play: Asian family tend to see child's play as a subject in itself rather than a means for supporting academic experiences. Children spend lot of their time in activities know as academically oriented experiences in their daily schedules (Pan, 1994; Takeuchi, 1994). These beliefs are highly valued and encouraged by the ethnic culture.
On the other hand, if the child is from a nuclear family, especially from Euro-American cultural background who emphasize in individualism, self reliance, individual problem solving, self-help, then interaction tend to be more object-oriented than group oriented. Children in these culture have numerous opportunities to manipulate objects-functional and fully finished commercial toys. In Individualism culture, the child may have great deal of experience exploring objects and the relations between self and objects.
Western children tend to engage in more socio-dramatic activities than children other areas especially in group-oriented cultures. for example: researchers have found that Korean American preschool children displayed less social and pretend play than Anglo-American children. Furthermore, When Korean children engaged in pretended play, they reflected more everyday and family role activities and less fantastic themes (e.g. action related to legend or fairy tale characters that do not exit).

8.peer sociability: Peer sociability in collectivist societies, which stress group harmony, differs from that in Western individualistic cultures. 'For exampler: Children in India generally play in large groups that requires high levels of cooperation. Much of their behaviours is imitative, occurs in unison, and involves close physicla contact. In a game called Atiya Piatiy, children sit in a circle, join hands, and swing while they recite a jingle. In Bhatto Bhatto, they act out a scrip about a trip to the market , touching each other's elbows and hands as they pretend to cut and share a tasty vegetable (Roopnarince et al., 1994)'.


Berk, Laura, E., & Shanker, Stuart, G. (2006). Child Development (2nd Cdn. Ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

Rubin, K. Melissa, M. (2010). Culture and Social Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Chen, X. (2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Culture and Policy in Early childhood Development

Policies are cultural products. Policies have made based on the concept that member of a group of a culture share together. The effects of policies have a huge role in a everyday life of specific cultural place.
'The relationship between culture and policy in early childhood education is intimate, complex, and multi-faceted'. (Harkness, & Super 2010).
In early childhood education, we need to understand the influence of culture and policy that they have on each other. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much attention to the effect of culture and policy about their reflection on each other in early childhood education.
There are several ways that culture and policy intersect. ' like culture, policy also exist in many levels from national to international organization to local groups'.(Harkness, & Super 2010).
Policies like cultural beliefs are vary of how they have been formalized. We can find policies in handbook format or simply they are shared understanding of what is expected of individuals in particular circumstances. Policies also like culture are reflection of shared values so, therefore; policies are part of individuals cultures.When policies are not stable with the culture of families or children affected by them, they don't work as intended.
One example that I have personally encountered is children's washroom policy at child care centers.
Some centers have policy that boys and girls can go to washroom together but there are many families who culturally don't like this policy and therefore policy and culture is on a conflict.
Ecological framework are helpful for understanding the influence of policy on children's development.
The Ecological system theory of Bronfenbrenner view the child as developing within a level of the surrounding environment. This system is consist of series of nested "system" from the centre "Microsystems" (The relationship between child and immediate family) to the "mesosystem" (connection among immediate setting) and "exosystem" (the social setting that affect but do not contain child) and then "macrosystem" (values, laws, costumes, and resource of the cultures that affect activities an interaction at all the inner layers) and at last "chronosystem" (refers to dynamic, ever-changing nature of the person's environment).
'Ecological frameworks in the study of the child's culturally-constructed environment can inform efforts to understand why and how policies succeed or fail in particulars instances.'(Harkness, & Super 2010).
For example: "the family dinner table" is one  example of policy oriented report.
When we look at ecological approach, we find out how family dinner time fit into child's daily routines. it shows the importance of family dinner time for parents and features of larger environment, including children's school work or other activities, parental work schedules and other social activities; all of these have effect on family dinnertime as a cultural practice.
Now, since programs and policies are cultural products, so their outward gloss and their main purpose can be transformed in other cultures. since every culture has different policies then these programs would be transformed to something that is more acceptable to that specific culture.
For example: The televisions program of Sesame Street was made to "increase" and "help" children with "early literacy" in North America. But now about twenty other countries have Sesame Street but they have have changed the name of characters, voice, and even some countries have emphasized more on cooperation and sharing or some on counting and reading or inter-group respect and understanding, so each countries and culture  have made adaptation based on their policies and cultural value.
'Researchers on policy related to children should integrate disciplinary perspectives in order to match expertise on individual development with knowledge about culture and how to study it.' (Harkness, & Super 2010).


Harkness, S. & Sper, M. C. (2010). Culture and Policy in Early Childhood Development. Encycolopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Berk, Laura, E., & Shanker, Stuart, G. (2006)Child Development (2nd Cdn. Ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Regimes of truth, Doing Focult in Early childhood Studies

Developmental truth have created a regimes of turht about children in different ways and in different places.
Regimes of turht have equite effect since these regimes of turht are the effect of domination. When one turht accumulate official sanction, other turht become silenced and marginalized. These process in Focult's view is 'violence'; he believes that this process marginalize diversity.
In child development, dominate child developmental truth privilege western/minority wold marginalize majority's views. Most developmental norm are based on white-middle class and westernized countries and these developmental norms marginalize cultural diversity in majority world.
For example: Being independent form adult which is a standard developmental measure in westernized countries wouldn't be applicable in non-western countries/Majority world. While developmental norm in Minority world value independecy, Majority world dont' pay much attention to independecny, however; they value co-operation.
Children form Majority word especially children form poorer countries, or children who struggle to live from war and violence wouldn't be fit in the developmental norms. And their way of thinking, acting, being, and feeling would be marginalize by those developmental norms.
Valdivia(1995) believes that a series of developmental skill, verbal interaction, non-verbal interaction and feeding routines are culturally specific.
Children form different culture would be viewed as children with developmental delay based on the westernized norms, however  if we look ate them within their own culture, these children are groiwng normally with no delay in their development.
Developmental truths in westernized countiers marginalize other cultures in Majority world. They marginalize the "others" ways of thinking, being, feeling, acting, and interacting.
Focult argued that 'knowldeg and truth are tied up with the way in which power is exercised in our age... and are themselves caught up in power struggles.' 'No knowledge is 'ture' knowledge free from ideology. Instead, all knowledge is 'culturally prejudiced' (ibid.; p 2) and is, therefore partial, situated and local. it expresses particular knowledge/power relations and can not be applicable universally. For instance, if developmental psychology is piratical, situated, local knowledge then it can not be applicable to all children at all times.'


Mac Naughton, G. (2005). Applying poststructural ideas. Doing Focualt in Early Childhood Studies.  New York: Rutledge.,

Dahlberg, G. & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and Politics in Early childhood Edcuation. London and New York : RoutledgeFalmer

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Culture and children's play

Cultural belife about the importance of play affects early peer associations.' Adult who view play as mere entertainment are less likely to provide props of to encourage pretend than those who value its cognitive and social benefits (Farver & Wimbarti, 1995a, 1995b). Children's play is different form culture to culture. Children's play has been recognized as one of the major factor in young children's development and learning. Through plays children learn social roles, norms, and values. As a fundamental concept for developmentally and culturally appropriate  practice, we need to understand the dynamics of cultural influence and child development on children's play, particularly in the contexts of family ethnic culture.
Even how we interpret child's play and development is different form culture to culture. Also , defining children's play and children's activities are different from on one's culture. For example: In Asia, ethnic cultural influences tend to see play and academic activities separate from each other. However, In Italy, there is little distinction between play and child's other activities and they strongly emphasis  on social-interaction in child's play, an example is the Reggio Emilia. (New, 1994). Also, preschool children of Korean-American parents, who emphasize task persistance as crucial for learning,spend less time than their caucasian -American counterparts at joint make-belive and more time unoccupied and in paralledl play ( Farver, Kim, & Lee, 1195).
Many U.S. educators and researchers with Euro-American perspectives believe that child-initiated play and other experiences are already related to the child's development of later academic experiences.
Children's play always portrays and reflect their own social values and family ethnic practices. 'Children's play are personally meaningful experiences through their  physical enviormment in their own way, while at the same time the sociocultural experiences shapes children's play in its unique way (Erickson, 1963, 1963; Vygotsky,1997)'.
Play is an important context for cultural learning and reflection of children's experiences. Culture influences all froms of adult-child, child-child, and child-children play and children's ethnic family culture always interweaves directly in their play and peer interaction.
Super and Harkness (1999) proposed that children's physical and social enviroment set the stage for understanding developmental processes and outcomes. 
According to their theory, cultural belief and customs influences children's experiences and give information that based on those information children and their parents co-construct the rules of their culture. Culture plays significant role in structuring and organizing the environment that children's play and social interaction takes place. 
One of the best way to see how culture influences children's development is to observe mother and child engaging in a developmentally appropriate activity. 
Cross-cultural differences exits in the extent to which children and mother initiate play . Children are initially teach  to play in different way by their mothers, and in ways valued by the culture in which their mother was reared. 
Play can value, celebrate and raise awareness of different cultures. Cultural Play can enhance learning, understanding and acceptance. Cultural Play promotes self-esteem and positive self. 
Western children tend to engage in more socio-dramatic play than children in other are, especially group-oriented culture. Researchers have found that Korean American preschool children show less social and pretend play than Anglo-American children. Furthermore, when Korean children played in pretend play, they showed more everyday and family role activities and less fantastics themes (e.g. action related to legend or fairy tale characters that do not exist). 


Chen, X. (2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Cote, L. Bornstein, M. (2005). Child and mother play in cultures of origin, acculturating cultures and cultures of destination. International Journal of Behavioral development; 29(6): 479-488.

Berk, Laura, E., & Shanker, Stuart, G. (2006). Child Development (2nd Cdn. Ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

culture influence child develpment

culture influence children's development. The environment that children live affects children's developmental milestone. Culture may cause delays in children's development based on the "developmental theories" or may exceed a child's development. Every culture is unique; different belief and customs in children's cultures affects children's direction in life.
The children's culture influences the way children behave, think and act and children's daily experiences are culturally shaped. The cultural norm that people have decides for them what normal behavior is and what abnormal behavior is.
Culture is what decided, what the child absorb and how , and , therefore, culture conditions the child's mind and behaviour as the child grows.
We as educators must help children to Value their own cultural backgrounds- race, religion and culture.
Culture plays an essential role in how children make sense of the world. A decisive difference between children's learning and any intelligent technical system is that technical systems can recognize and organize information, but can not grasp its meaning.
Development of signification and adoption of the appropriate cultural tools (symbols, meaning, scripts, goal etc.) of human activity are basic challenges of early learning.
Culture is embodied in the way that children are raised and the environment where they grow and develop.
Children from birth start to orientate themselves based on the meaning sphere of the human life like: way thinking, ways of doing things, value and beliefs. When children are born in to a culture, they become the participators in that culture; They act, behave, think, listen, in a way that their culture values. They participate in social interaction in their culture and they understand what is been valued and what is not valued.


The content of self concept in child development is varies from one culture to another culture. For example; Asian parents focus on harmonious interdependence and, on the other hand; western parents emphasize on separateness and self assertion.
For instance: In China and Japan, the self is defined in relation to the social group but in the united state the self becomes the "property" of a self contained individuals. ( Markus & Kitayama, 19991).
Children usually form individualistic culture seems to be more egoistic and competitive, however children form collectivist culture are more concerned with the welfare of others. These examples show the huge impact of social environment and culture on self-concept.

Socio-Emotional Development:

Socio-emotional development is affected by cultural context. Culture may promote of limit the demonstration of specific aspects of socio-emotional development through facilitation of suppression processes. Cultural norms and values can provide information about the interpretation and evaluation of social behavior and like providing meanings to the behaviors.
Socio-emotional characteristics in the early years can have implications for the development of social behaviors. 'Edvard found that children in relatively open communities (e.g.. Taira in Ilinawa, one of Japan's southern ) where peer interaction were encouraged had significantly higher scores on overall social engagement than children in more "Close" and agriculture communities (e.g. Nyansongo in Kenyan Khlapur in India)'.
During Social interactions, peer evaluate and response to individual characteristics in a way that are relevant with cultural belief systems in their society and express equivalent reaction (e.g. acceptance, rejection) toward children who show the characteristics. Culturally-directed social evaluations and responses, in turn, guide children's behaviors and essentially their developmental pattens.
Cross-cultural research has showed that how cultural factors plays a significant role in all aspect of children's socio-emotional developments. Researchers believe that the impact of cultural context on socio-emotional development is mostly happens through parental socialization practices and in the later years, through peer interactions.


Cole, M. & Hkkarainen, P. & Bredikyte, M. (2010). Culture and Early childhood Learning. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Chen, X. (2009). Culture and Early Socio-Emotional Development. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development.

Berk, Laura, E., & Shanker, Stuart, G. (2006). Child Development (2nd Cdn. Ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada Inc.

Friday, October 22, 2010

definition of culture

Culture is created by human life. Cultures can be defined as " the set of attitudes, values, and behaviour shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next". Cultures plays huge role in how children make meaning of the world.
Most child development theories are based on westernized countries but the majority of children are not from westernized countries, therefore; child development theories require special attention to the influence of cross-cultural research on child development.
We should keep in mind that any behaviour that are appropriate within a culture will be encouraged by significant adult in children's lives and any behaviour that is not appropriate will be discouraged. These adaptive and maladaptive behaviour varies from one culture to another culture; behaviour that are adaptive in one culture could be maladaptive in another culture.
within any culture, children are shaped by the physical and social settings within which they live; culturally customs and child rearing practices; and culturally based belief systems. That means that the psychological of any social behavior is based on what culture and where those children are being exposed to those belief and system, therefore; child development theories and child development truths can not be applied for all children in different culture since all of those child development truths are based on the westernized "norms".
Early childhood educators, teachers, social workers and... must understand that normalcy is culturally defined and also the practitioners, psychologist should consider children's cultural values before giving diagnose .
Culture is consists of the historically accumulated knowledge, tools, and attitudes that pervade the child's proximal ecology, including the cultural "practices" of nuclear family members and other kin. These enculturated members of society are themselves subject to a variety of forces in both the natural ecology and society as they carry out their roles, such as care giving and earning a living.
Culture is created by human in their social life. Through participation in social life of culture, children develop.
'Culture is part of our world. It is developed through human life in the "natural" world and is nature that is formed. It consists of material products characterized by meaning and function. And it encompasses immaterial products: language, idea, conception, meaning, value, the knowledge and skill that are created and from part of human life. It comprises the activities that reproduce these products as well as create new. And it comprises the relation formed between humans and through which the social life and its products come into being'.


Rubin, H.K & Menzer, M. (2010). Culture and social development. Retrieved on October 20, 2010 from

Cole, M. & Hkkarainen, P. & Bredikyte, M. (2010). Culture and Early childhood Learning. Retrieved on October 20, 2010 from

Thyssen, S. Child Culture. (2003) Play and Child Development. Early Child Development and Care, 173(6), 589-612