7 Fun Classroom Theme Ideas to Make Celebrating Diversity Fun
Teaching and celebrating diversity in the classroom is integral to providing an equitable education for all students. This detailed guide will discuss why teaching and celebrating diversity and culture in any daycare, preschool classroom, or early elementary school classroom are so important.
We will look at how teaching diversity and cultural awareness promotes understanding between different cultures, encourages open-mindedness, prepares students for a more diverse world, and provides a safe learning environment for all students.
Types of Diversity
Diversity is a fundamental concept to teach to young students. To teach diversity well, educators must understand the different forms of diversity that can be taught.
According to Merriam-Webster, diversity is “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: especially: the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization.”
Teaching diversity in early education is essential to helping children develop a strong sense of self-identity and respect for others. As an early childhood educator, you are responsible for providing an environment that allows children to explore and learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others.
However, diversity is not just about ethnicity/race, culture, disabilities, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity but also includes learning, cognitive, and intellectual diversity. Here’s a look at some key ways to foster an understanding of diversity in daycare, preschool, and early elementary school classrooms.
Learning diversity encompasses a variety of abilities and disabilities which can affect how someone learns. Therefore, it’s essential to recognize that some students may require extra support to learn effectively and progress with their studies.
For example, some students may require more time to process information, while others may need assistance with more practical tasks such as writing or organizing materials. Therefore, educators should strive to ensure that all learners have the resources they need to succeed in their educational pursuits.
Cognitive diversity refers to the way individuals think and process information differently from one another. Students with cognitive diversity have the potential to bring unique perspectives and insights into group discussions and activities, which can create an environment of creativity and innovation within the classroom setting. However, for these benefits to be realized, educators must look for ways to foster an understanding and appreciation for each student’s unique thinking styles and provide them with productive strategies for managing their differences.
Intellectual diversity involves recognizing that no two individuals possess the same knowledge base or intellectual capacities. Therefore, teachers must strive towards creating a classroom environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas regardless of their knowledge on a particular topic. Furthermore, educators should actively seek opportunities for students to acquire new knowledge through exposure to diverse sources such as books, media outlets, expert speakers, etc., which can improve comprehension skills overall.
Therefore, it is vital that educators understand how various forms of diversity impact their classrooms so they can better support their students’ learning journeys by providing them with resources tailored specifically towards their individual needs and interests.
By introducing topics that help learn about all forms of diversity into classroom lesson plans early on in a student’s educational career, teachers can establish a foundation for success later down the road, no matter what academic trajectory they choose to pursue afterwards.
Resources to get started
How to Teach Kids About Racism – Rebecca J. Jackson
Music, Education, and Diversity: Bridging Cultures and Communities – Patricia Shehan Campbell
Start Where You Are, But Don’t Stay There, Second Edition: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms – H. Richard Milner IV
And a whole list of books regarding racial inequities as well.
Why Including Diversity In the Classroom Is Important
Teaching and celebrating diversity helps children understand many different cultures, beliefs, customs, and traditions worldwide. It is similar to offering a child a variety of toys to play with; it broadens their perspective, encourages creativity, and helps them understand the world around them.
By teaching about these differences from an early age, children can start to develop an understanding of how people who may be different from them think and act. This teaches children to be more tolerant of those who may not share their same values, beliefs or abilities– something that will be especially important as they age and begin interacting with people from other cultures daily.
Through exposure to various perspectives, opinions, cultures, etc., young children will learn to form their own opinions instead of blindly following what the majority thinks or believes. This encourages critical thinking skills, which can benefit many aspects of life – now and later.
Providing A Safe Learning Environment For All Students
One of the most important reasons for teaching and celebrating diversity in the classroom is that it helps create a safe learning environment where all students feel respected regardless of identity or background. Introducing children to different ethnicities and cultures, they may not have been exposed to can build relationships with others outside their own family or community. This allows them to gain an appreciation for diversity which can help foster respect between everyone around them – creating a more welcoming atmosphere inside the classroom where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgement or ridicule.
As such, diversity should be prioritized by educators when creating lesson plans. It provides numerous benefits that will help shape young minds into responsible citizens capable of easily navigating our increasingly globalized society.
Ways to Celebrate Diversity
As part of creating an inclusive and respectful learning environment, finding ways to celebrate diversity among students and teachers is imperative.
One of the best ways to foster this kind of respect and appreciation for differences is by celebrating diversity in a meaningful way. Here are some ideas on how teachers and educators can make sure that everyone in their classroom or school feels heard, seen and respected:
Promote Inclusiveness – By creating an environment where all students feel safe, accepted and appreciated, teachers can help foster an inclusive atmosphere in the classroom. This means encouraging open dialogue between all students in the classroom while proactively addressing any instances of prejudice or discrimination.
Celebrate Differences – Teachers should strive to create lessons that don’t just teach content but also demonstrate acceptance and admiration for diverse backgrounds and identities. They should also encourage their students to learn about different cultures and countries through activities such as show and tell, field trips or research projects.
Recognize Achievements – Even small accomplishments by children should be recognized publicly so that everyone in the classroom feels valued regardless of their background, abilities or identity. This could be done by creating certificates or awards for excellence in a particular area or demonstrating outstanding effort towards achieving specific goals.
Give Opportunities – Even when there are potential barriers, teachers should strive to provide equal opportunities for everyone in the classroom to participate fully in activities without feeling judged or excluded due to cultural or ability differences. Encouraging peer-to-peer tutoring amongst multilingual groups can also be beneficial as this allows students to utilize each other’s unique skills while developing communication skills simultaneously.
Celebrate Cultural Holidays – Learning about different cultures can also be fun. Teachers should take advantage of cultural holidays such as Christmas and Hannukah, Lunar New Year, Diwali or Eid al-Fitr by organizing celebrations in the classroom where traditional food and activities can be shared amongst classmates from different backgrounds. This could lead towards fruitful conversations on religious customs while providing meaningful learning experiences which transcend beyond textbooks alone.
7 Fun and Inclusive Classroom Theme Ideas to Celebrate Diversity
Now that you have all the background knowledge you need to start teaching diversity, we’ve put together a list of 7 classroom theme ideas. These classroom themes are great for young children and include classroom decor and teaching plans to help young minds learn about different forms of diversity in a simple, inclusive and fun way.
Around the World
Around the World is a great theme to introduce young children to different cultures and traditions. It can bring the world into the classroom and help students appreciate diversity while also learning about new places. Here are some ideas on how to get students involved:
You can teach students about various countries worldwide by providing them with books, maps, and globe models. Explain which countries are near each other as well as what languages are spoken in each nation. In addition, pictures or videos of various landscapes, people, or landmarks can pique student interest.
Have the students make traditional crafts from different countries as a second activity. Assign each student a country and have them research local customs and craft materials needed for their projects. For example, paper folding is popular in Japan, so they could create origami pieces; Indian culture has intricate beadwork, which could be reproduced with large beads and yarn; and Mexican culture emphasizes vibrant colors, so they could draw permanent marker designs on paper plates to make masks.
Students can also learn about world culture through music and playing songs from around the world in their lessons. Discuss traditional instruments and have students try to imitate their sounds using their own homemade instruments, like empty containers filled with rice or beans for shakers or use cardboard tubes for drumsticks.
You could even put on your chef’s hat and cook up some delicious dishes from various places around the world! Provide recipes for easy snacks like crepes from France that involve simple ingredients and steps that even younger kids can follow along with you in class. Or go outside for an educational picnic where each student brings food items from their assigned country.
Teaching young children about diversity through an Around the World theme is fun and educational. By engaging in activities such as book reading sessions, crafting projects, musical performances, and cooking classes, all paired with discussions about different cultures, kids will be able to gain an appreciation for our diverse planet sooner rather than later.
All About Me: Culture and Diversity: Kindergarten Social Studies: Who am I?
Children of The World – 36 Piece Jigsaw Floor Puzzle
What could be more diverse than the natural world? Nature is fascinating even for adults, and young children love to explore their surroundings or places they have never encountered. Introducing diversity through nature can help them grasp the concept more easily. By making connections between the natural world and their own lives, you can encourage children to experience, observe and appreciate the differences and similarities in our world.
When teaching young children about diversity, it is important to get them actively involved in the learning process. Start by introducing diverse examples they can relate to – like animals or plants found in nature. Then, by engaging with these living organisms, students can understand how different beings have unique qualities that make them stand out from the rest. For example, you might ask students to carefully observe a butterfly and explain its features – such as its colorful wings or slender antennae – that help distinguish it from other insects.
Furthermore, by introducing students to different countries or regions through books or videos, you can provide an opportunity for further exploration into natural diversity. Show them pictures of various landscapes worldwide and discuss why each place is unique and special. Ask questions such as “What are some differences between this landscape and a beach near your home?” or “What kinds of animals live in this area?” This will help them understand how geography affects culture and lifestyle.
You can also take your students on field trips outdoors so they can experience different habitats firsthand. For example, go on walks together around your local area so they can learn more about bird species native to your region or explore tide pools at nearby beaches. Through outdoor activities like these, children gain a better understanding of our planet’s incredible biodiversity and its importance to humanity as a whole.
Finally, engage your class in conversations about respect for all living things – no matter how small, or dissimilar they may appear – and open-mindedness towards those who may look or act differently than us. Please encourage your students to think critically about why the difference is something we should celebrate rather than fear. By doing so, you will equip these young learners with valuable life skills that will benefit them both now and into adulthood.
World Continent Cards Montessori Geography Folder
Wild Symphony – A book that uses music and storytelling to explain the differences between animals.
Nature Walks, Outdoor Education & Learning, PreK Kindergarten Science Activities
Language is a beautiful tool to teach young children about diversity. Through different tongues, accents, and expressions, children can gain an understanding of the world around them and how it is made up of many unique cultures. By teaching a language-based theme in early childhood education, children will gain an appreciation for the differences between people from diverse backgrounds and learn to embrace those differences with curiosity and respect.
One way to get students involved in learning about languages is by introducing them to international stories. Stories have the power to bridge gaps between cultures and provide insight into other parts of the world that may be unfamiliar or unknown to them. Incorporating stories from different countries or regions can help students become familiar with different cultures while also honing their reading skills. Additionally, books written in other languages can help children understand which words refer to particular objects or ideas when expressed in a new language.
Another effective way to introduce diversity through language learning in early childhood education is through music. Songs are fun for children and serve as learning tools, as they can help build phonemic awareness through rhythm and repetition. In addition, music from around the globe can be used in classroom activities, such as having students listen to songs from various countries and then engage in hands-on activities related to the lyrics, like creating art projects inspired by elements mentioned in the song’s verses.
Teachers should encourage bilingual and multilingual students to share their language with their class to help foster an understanding of diversity. Learning another language is a great way to engage students in studying different cultures and promote respect for diverse backgrounds.
Teachers can also use a sign language theme to introduce the concept of intellectual and cognitive diversity to preschool students by incorporating ASL into their classrooms. For example, they can teach basic signs such as those associated with feelings or greetings, provide stories about characters with diverse abilities, or invite an interpreter who speaks ASL to come in and present some of the basics of the language to the children.
These activities will help foster a sense of respect and appreciation among students while also introducing them to vocabulary terms associated with foreign languages, which encourage self-expression and communication skills that will benefit them throughout their lives, both personally and professionally, when interacting with people from all walks of life.
9 Pieces ASL Colour Posters Color Bulletin Board Set
Motivation Without Borders MWB Spanish Language Poster for Kids
World Flags-Bulletin Board-International Hello
There is no doubt that music is an incredible tool for educating children about diversity and acceptance. Not only does it have the ability to express ideas creatively, but it can also provide a fun and engaging way for young learners to explore different cultures. How many of you remember songs you learned in childhood that taught you something? I sure do! By introducing children to music from various parts of the world, they can begin to understand the universality of human experience and learn to appreciate different perspectives.
One way to use music as a tool for teaching diversity is through participation in cultural exchange activities. This could include attending special events featuring local musicians or inviting local musicians into the classroom. Students would be able to listen to new sounds live and gain an appreciation of global cultures while being immersed in them firsthand. Additionally, teachers could bring in visiting speakers such as musicians or experts on culture to provide an interactive educational experience that students can engage with and learn from.
Another excellent way for teachers to use music as an educational tool is by incorporating songs from around the world into classroom activities. This could be done through singing, dancing, or playing instruments together, which are great ways for kids to become familiar with unfamiliar tunes and rhythms from other cultures. Teachers can also introduce students to diverse musical genres, such as traditional folk music or contemporary pop songs from around the world, that demonstrate cultural differences in sound production and style.
Finally, educators should also consider hosting themed days to explore diversity through music. During these days, students would work together in groups (or individually) on projects related to learning more about various cultures’ music styles – both past and present – while creating their own compositions based on what they have learned. This type of activity encourages creativity and helps kids develop a sense of appreciation for different cultural perspectives while gaining valuable knowledge simultaneously.
Tam Tam Tambalay!: And Other Songs from Around the World
Music Lesson Plan | Diversity and Inclusion
Preschool Educational Musical Toys Set
Celebrating holidays from multiple cultures can be an exciting way to educate kids on different traditions while reinforcing their appreciation for other backgrounds. Teachers can create meaningful learning experiences through guided discussions and activities that inspire children to value cultural differences. Here are some ideas on how to get students involved in learning about diversity through a holiday theme.
One activity could involve creating multicultural ornaments for the classroom. Please encourage students to choose a country they would like to learn more about and research its traditional holiday decorations. Then, provide materials such as construction paper, glue, scissors, markers, glitter, and so on for them to create their own festive ornament. Additionally, you could use this task as an opportunity to explain why certain symbols or colors are associated with certain holidays or countries. It’s a great way for children to gain insight into different cultures!
Another idea is having students make cards for their peers celebrating various holidays; we all know how much kids love getting mail. You can provide them with pictures of different holiday cards from around the world and then task them with making one for each other. This allows them to practice writing skills too.
Alternatively, depending on the resources available at your school or facility, you could set up an international buffet where each student brings in food from their culture or family traditions. This encourages conversation in your classroom and makes your diverse student body feel more connected through shared foods. As they sample dishes from various backgrounds, they will begin experiencing new flavors while simultaneously developing new interpretations of their peers’ native customs. These types of interactions allow children to explore beyond what they already know and will help foster deeper understanding between cultures.
Let’s Celebrate!: Special Days Around the World (World of Celebrations)
Christmas Bulletin Board Borders
Under the Sea
Incorporating an Under the Sea theme into your classroom activities can be a great way to teach young children, typically between the ages of four and six, about diversity. Just like nature on land, exploring a variety of sea creatures and their habitats can encourage children to learn how each species is adapted to live in their environment. This can help them better understand how different life forms interact with one another in nature and how everyone has a place within their community.
To get students involved in learning about marine life and its diversity, you may introduce classroom activities that require researching information about different species found in the ocean. This can include identifying what makes each creature unique and how they work together to form a balanced ecosystem.
Consider having your students compare two or more species based on physical qualities such as size, coloration, movement capabilities, reproductive behavior and diet preferences. Through this exercise, they can appreciate biodiversity by recognizing that each species possesses characteristics that make them distinct from one another despite occupying similar habitats. Furthermore, dividing your class into small groups and assigning each group a specific species to investigate could be beneficial as it allows each child to become more engaged with one particular organism’s life cycle.
Another fun way to support student learning is to set up an aquarium in the classroom. Teachers can assign students specific tasks related to researching an animal they’d like to keep in the tank before purchasing it or buying appropriate plants and decorations for it. Having students set up and maintain an aquarium is a great way to observe firsthand how all organisms interact within an ecosystem while also providing hands-on reinforcement of the concepts they’ve previously learned.
You could also encourage your kids to draw aquatic lifeforms to decorate their classrooms. By creating a visually appealing classroom environment with meaningful decorations, teachers can further inspire their young learners’ creativity and foster positive interactions between peers.
45 Pieces Fish Cut-Outs Paper Colorful Classroom Decorations
Under The Sea Bulletin Board Set
Under the Sea Dramatic Play Center
Teachers have the important job of introducing preschool students to learning, intellectual and cognitive diversity concepts. Teachers can effectively do this by implementing a Learning theme into the classroom. Learning themes involve creating a stimulating, engaging, and inclusive environment for all students. This allows children to learn from each other and develop an understanding of different abilities and backgrounds. A theme-based approach to learning also helps foster collaboration between students and promotes self-reflection and critical thinking skills.
Teachers can introduce intellectual and cognitive diversity through stories or roleplaying activities. For example, a teacher could tell a story about two siblings with different interests or abilities, such as one sibling being better at math while the other excels in music. Through this type of story, children will see how everyone is unique in their own way and that we should celebrate our differences rather than see them as negatives or drawbacks.
Another way teachers can implement this concept into the curriculum is through art projects that focus on diversity in both style and content. This enables children to explore various cultures, disabilities, religions, ethnicities, and social statuses while expressing themselves creatively through art forms like drawing or painting.
By introducing a Learning theme into the classroom environment based on intellectual and cognitive diversity, teachers are providing preschoolers with an opportunity to experience new ideas in an exciting way while getting comfortable with celebrating individual differences among their classmates. In addition, this creates an atmosphere of respect for everyone’s opinion, which is key for student growth both academically and socially throughout their school career.
It’s OK to be Different: A Children’s Picture Book About Diversity and Kindness
Meeting Mimi: A Story About Different Abilities
Ways to Decorate and Illustrate Diversity
Decorating a classroom to illustrate diversity is an easy way for educators and teachers to support their students and create an inclusive environment. It helps develop a sense of belonging and allows students to learn self-expression while increasing their cultural awareness.
- Bulletin boards are one of the best ways to decorate a classroom to illustrate diversity. They can be used to feature positive messages that promote equality, acceptance, and respect for all individuals.
- Posters or artwork featuring symbols representing different cultures or countries can also be hung on bulletin boards to celebrate each student’s unique background.
- Display art gives an opportunity for kids to help with decoration by allowing them to make drawings or paintings that represent different forms of diversity, as well as discussing what diversity means with them in class.
- Bunting made out of fabric featuring traditional patterns or flags from around the world can also be hung on windows to honor various cultures.
- Glass doors and windows are a perfect space for educators and teachers to utilize to showcase diversity themes studied in the classroom because they are the focal points in the room, which is essential when setting a positive atmosphere.
- Students could also bring items from home that symbolize their culture, such as traditional clothing or musical instruments, which they could put on display in their learning space so everyone can appreciate them during classes.
You can check out our Preschool Classroom Theme Ideas Pinterest page for more ideas.
Diversity education should be an exciting part of any curriculum but particularly so for younger children who are just beginning their educational journey; introducing them early on to various ideas related to differences within society and the wider world helps create an understanding that we are all connected despite outward appearances or labels assigned by society at large.
In addition, incorporating multiple learning styles into lessons, along with interactive activities and visual aids, teach kids valuable lessons they carry throughout life while providing enjoyable and memorable experiences.
-This article was written by Rebecca Calbert.
Rebecca is a licensed architect with over 30 years of experience. She owns and operates an architectural firm, Calbert Design Group, and educates her clients through the commercial real estate development process with online content at SaveOnBuilding.com. Rebecca’s “purpose” is to educate small business owners and protect them from what they don’t know.