Early childhood is the time when children first become aware of differences among people and start to form opinions and attitudes about these differences.
Young children are naturally curious about differences
One of the ways they make sense of their world is to sort things into different categories and focus on one thing at a time – for example, whether another child has the same or different skin colour to them. Children do this to organise their experiences.
Awareness of differences also means young children are sensitive to experiences of racism and prejudice. This can impact on their social and emotional wellbeing, their learning and their social relationships. Their ideas about and responses to diversity are influenced by what they see and hear around them.
Helping all children and young people understand difference encourages them to feel good about who they are, where they fit in the world and appreciate diversity in others. It helps to build strong, inclusive communities where everyone enjoys a sense of being valued and belonging, which supports positive mental health.
Learn more about cultural diversity and mental health.
Last updated: November, 2019
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In today's world, with an ever-expanding demographic of residents entering long term care homes, it is critical to develop strategies that promote diversity and inclusion.
Cultural diversity has many dimensions; language, race, religious beliefs, ethnicity, etc. To support cultural diversity, care homes need what is known as cultural competence.
Cultural Competence is defined as a set of behaviors, attitudes, and practices that equip healthcare providers with the knowledge to deliver culturally appropriate care. It is so important to foster a workforce that is free of prejudice, bias, and stereotyping.
Two Essentials of Cultural Competence
Cultural competence is developed over time and includes self-awareness, guidance, training and experience. Embracing cultural diversity and promoting inclusion are two aspects of cultural competence.
Embracing cultural diversity means appreciating the differences in individuals from a variety of cultural and ethnic groups within an organization. Inclusion refers to the right of those groups to participate and have equity in all aspects of life.
A culture that celebrates cultural diversity & promotes inclusion must be interwoven into the framework of your facility's culture so that all residents feel like they belong. Residents must feel valued, respected, and unafraid to bring their backgrounds and perspectives to light.
Why Cultural Competence is Important
Unfortunately, studies indicate that there is often a disparity in the provision of quality care to residents from diverse cultural backgrounds. The reasons for these discrepancies vary from differences in beliefs and practices, language barriers, non-adherence to treatments, differences in lifestyle, thinking style, philosophy of life and other traits.
Unchallenged, this gap can lead to:
How to Create a Culture of Inclusion
Staff can promote inclusion by being aware of the cultures represented in their organization and:
Activity Program calendars should include cultural activities throughout the year. Celebrating and sharing food, music, and humour is one of the best ways to promote goodwill and tolerance.
Remember that you are there to integrate clients into your community. ‘Fitting-in' is important for everyone. Don't assume or generalize about how a client should behave without regard for individual differences and unique circumstances.
10 Tips for Embracing Cultural Diversity in Your Workplace