In order to understand the importance of incorporating culture in early childhood education, it is important to start by defining culture. The term culture has varied definitions but basically, it entails the things that people develop together, what is shared amongst themselves and generally how they live together. Being more specific, culture refers to the values, codes, rules, norms and ideas that are passed from one generation to the other and which people try to carry on to the future generations (Gunestad, n.d). This definition covers all cultures and basically says that culture evolves around people’s ideas such as what is good or bad or right and wrong. When culture talks bout values, this includes things like honesty, friendliness, love for our friends among others.
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In a rapidly changing environment, it is important for parents and teachers to enhance the cultural development of children since they are responsible for their upbringing and education. Early childhood education is important to children since it forms a firm foundation for their future. It is during this young age that children are exposed to the most basic and critical concepts of life. As a result, it is important for a culture to be incorporated in early childhood education. Culture entails values, norms, rules and ideas that define the behavior of individuals.
Since early childhood is a stage when children begin to learn and make meaning out of their surroundings, the components of culture should be introduced to them at this age. Culture is crucial in early childhood education because it equips the children with the right values and societal norms that they should grow up upholding. Culture reflects the way of life of the people hence passing on cultural attributes through early childhood education ensures that the most important values of the society are carried on from generation to generation. This is an important way of ensuring that the continuity of the good values of society is guaranteed (Anning & Cullen, 2008).
Incorporating culture in early childhood education is not often an easy task and there are various ways through which early childhood educators can do this. The first step in achieving this is to have a deep understanding of the different cultural aspects within the environment of the learners. This is because learners do not share similar cultural backgrounds hence the need to meet their individual cultural needs. In order to effectively pass cultural elements to learners, early childhood educators should incorporate elements of culture in the curriculum.
This ensures that learners begin to understand the most important elements of their culture right from the beginning. Once they grow up, it becomes easy for them to identify with the cultural elements. In addition, educators can pass on cultural elements by interacting closely with the learners. Such close relationships enable the learners to emulate good values from their educators since they take them as their role models ad trusted people.
As early childhood educators, it is important to include families in all activities of educating young children. This is because families play a crucial role in the development of children. A family is the first unit where children begin to learn. Early childhood educators should include families in their work in order to ensure that what children learn is extended in their homes. This interaction also enables educators to teach family members skills on how to handle children in order for them to develop well. This is not an easy task and educators can achieve it by educating families on the crucial role they play in the development of their children. This enables them to cooperate with educators in their work.
Anning, A., & Cullen, J. (2008). Early childhood education: society and culture. New York: SAGE Publications Ltd.
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Gunestad, A. (n.d). The role of the Culture in Early Childhoold Education. Web.