Six Things You Can Do With Your Toddler To Encourage Inclusivity
Create a diverse learning environment: Montessori education emphasizes the importance of creating an inclusive learning environment that reflects the diversity of the world around us. Parents can encourage inclusivity by providing their toddlers with toys, books, and materials that feature diverse characters, cultures, and experiences. This can help toddlers develop empathy and understanding for people who are different from themselves.
Teach respect for differences: Montessori education emphasizes the importance of treating others with respect and dignity, and embraces their differences. Parents can encourage inclusivity by teaching their toddlers to appreciate and celebrate differences in others, whether it be differences in race, religion, or ability. For example, parents can read books with their toddlers about different cultures and traditions, or attend multicultural festivals and events.
Encourage independence and self-discovery: Montessori education emphasizes the importance of allowing children to develop independence and self-discovery. Parents can encourage inclusivity by allowing their toddlers to explore their interests and passions, even if they are different from their own. This can help toddlers develop a sense of self-confidence and respect for others who have different interests and abilities. For example, parents can provide their toddlers with materials and tools that allow them to explore different art forms or musical instruments, and encourage them to express themselves creatively.
Build a Sense of Belonging:
Inclusivity ensures that each child feels a sense of belonging within the Montessori environment. Creating an inclusive space means acknowledging and addressing individual needs, including those related to physical, cognitive, emotional, and cultural aspects. By adapting materials and activities to accommodate diverse learning styles and abilities, we empower every child to participate fully and succeed in their own unique way. This sense of belonging fosters self-confidence, self-esteem, and a positive self-image in toddlers and babies.
Encourage Interaction and Collaboration:
Inclusive environments foster opportunities for interaction and collaboration among children of various backgrounds. Encouraging toddlers and babies to engage in cooperative play, group activities, and projects promotes social bonding and mutual respect. When children from different backgrounds work together, they learn from one another, share experiences, and develop empathy. These early interactions plant the seeds for a future where inclusivity and cooperation are natural and instinctive.
Nurture Empathy and Compassion:
Developing empathy and compassion is a vital aspect of inclusive education. By providing toddlers and babies with opportunities to explore different perspectives, emotions, and cultures, we nurture their innate capacity for empathy. Reading books that explore themes of kindness, discussing feelings, and engaging in activities that promote empathy, such as caring for plants or animals, help children understand the value of empathy and compassion towards others.