Children are hungry for knowledge and start to learn values and beliefs from their caregivers as soon as they become aware of the world. A daycare center is a wonderful place to teach and reinforce the value of diversity. It is also socially responsible on the part of the daycare owners, who can use it as a selling point to attract parents who share those values. There are many ways you can introduce cultural diversity into your daycare center and involve the children, staff, parents, potential customers and the public.


Take an inventory of the books, toys, games and activities at your daycare center to see if they represent cultural diversity. Provide books and games about other countries, religions, races, beliefs and values. Celebrate a variety of religious holidays, such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan, so children learn to appreciate and respect different beliefs. Introduce foods, music and clothing from other cultures. Include books about single- and same-sex parents and blended families. Provide activities that give all children the opportunity to experiment with traditional gender-defined roles: Let the girls be pilots and boys be homemakers.


Strive for diversity in your staff, so the children have an opportunity to interact with people with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and points of view. Provide periodic training on cultural diversity for your staff, so they understand the nature of stereotypes and the origin of racism and bigotry. Clearly communicate to your staff that you expect unbiased attitudes and behavior from them at all times and provide constructive feedback and remedial training if problems occur. If any of the children demonstrate stereotypical thinking, make sure the staff knows how to deal with it in an instructive, positive manner.


Represent a variety of cultures and religions when decorating your daycare center for the holidays. Reflect diversity in pictures of children and families posted on the walls. Create a display that depicts global diversity, with different countries, flags and people of different races in traditional dress to make children aware of the vast and wonderful differences in the people who comprise our world.


Represent diversity in all of your advertising. Use photos that represent diverse staff and children. Choose words for your advertising copy that clearly communicate your daycare center strives to help children appreciate the value of cultural diversity. Mention that your staff represents a broad range of experiences and ideas to help children develop and grow into responsible adults who respect the rights of all individuals, groups and cultures.