Cultural influences on child development
Culture has a profound influence on child development, shaping how children learn, think, and behave. When educators are able to include Cultures in the Classroom they create a space that is welcoming and supportive of all children. By understanding the cultural backgrounds of the children in their care, educators can create a more #inclusive learning environment.
- Help children develop a positive sense of identity. Children need to feel that their culture is valued and respected. When educators focus on #culture, they help children to feel proud of their cultural heritage and to develop a positive sense of self.
- Promote understanding and respect for diversity. Children need to learn to appreciate and respect the differences between people. When educators focus on culture, they help children to understand that there are many different ways to be a family, to celebrate holidays, and to express oneself.
- Create a more inclusive learning environment. When educators focus on culture, they create a learning environment where all children feel welcome and valued. This is important for all children, but it is especially important for children from minority groups.
- Improve academic outcomes. Research has shown that children who are exposed to a variety of cultures tend to do better in school. This is because they have a better understanding of the world around them and they are better able to think critically and solve problems.
How does culture affect child development? Children from different cultures grow up differently because they experience different environments. What impact do these differences have on their development? Culture plays an important role in shaping children's behavior and attitudes. Culture plays an important role in how parents raise their children. It influences everything from how much time parents spend with their children to how they discipline them. There are cultural differences in how people think and behave. These differences affect children's learning and behavior.
People from some cultures tend to focus more on memorization and rote learning while others prefer problem-solving and critical thinking. In addition, there are different expectations for what children should do as they develop. For example, in some cultures, girls are expected to be more independent than boys.
Cultural influences can be seen in many aspects of child development, including:
- Language and communication. The language children are exposed to in their home environment has a major impact on their language development. Children who are exposed to multiple languages from a young age are more likely to be bilingual or multilingual.
- Conceptual development. Children's understanding of the world around them is shaped by their culture. For example, children who grow up in cultures that emphasize interdependence are more likely to develop a sense of collectivism. In contrast, children who grow up in cultures that emphasize independence are more likely to develop a sense of individualism.
- Socialization. Children learn how to interact with others in their culture through their interactions with their parents, siblings, peers, and other adults. For example, children who grow up in cultures that value cooperation are more likely to develop cooperative social skills, while children who grow up in cultures that value competition are more likely to develop competitive social skills.
- Emotional development. Children's understanding and expression of emotions are also shaped by their culture. For example, some cultures value the expression of emotions, while others value the suppression of emotions.
- Identity development. Their culture also influences children's sense of identity. Children learn about their cultural identity through their interactions with their family, community, and the media.
ChildCareEd understands the importance of supporting children and educators' culture. ChildCareEd offers course translation for all online courses and supports educators with experienced staff fluent in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean. We support educators in creating Culturally Sensitive Classrooms that allow every child to feel represented.
It is important to note that culture is not static. It is constantly evolving, and children are exposed to a variety of cultural influences throughout their lives. This means that children's cultural identities are also constantly evolving.
What are some cultural factors that influence child development? Here are some of the socio-cultural influences that may impact on a child:
- Family: The family is the primary source of cultural influence for most children. The family's values, beliefs, and practices will shape the child's understanding of the world.
- Religion: Religion can be a powerful source of cultural influence. Children who grow up in religious families will be exposed to a set of beliefs and practices that will shape their worldview.
- School: The school is another important source of cultural influence. The school's curriculum, teachers, and peers will all shape the child's understanding of the world. Because of this, it is essential that educators fully understand how to create #culturally_sensitive learning environments and expose themselves to professional development opportunities that provide strategies to enhance these environments. ChildCareEd’s One World, Many Cultures! Is just one course offering that supports educators in developing culturally inclusive environments.
- Peers: Peers can also be a source of cultural influence. Children learn from their peers about what is considered "normal" or "acceptable" in their culture.
There are many ways that early childhood educators can focus on culture. Here are a few ideas:
- Learn about the cultural backgrounds of the children in your care. Talk to parents, families, and community members to learn about the cultural values, beliefs, and practices of the children in your care.
- Incorporate cultural elements into your curriculum. This could include reading books about different cultures, celebrating holidays from different cultures, or incorporating music, art, and food from different cultures into your activities.
- Create a welcoming and inclusive environment. Make sure that your classroom is a place where all children feel welcome and valued, regardless of their cultural background.
- Be a role model for respect and understanding. Model respect and understanding for different cultures in your interactions with children, families, and colleagues.
By focusing on culture, early childhood educators can create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for all children. This is essential for helping children to develop a positive sense of identity, promote understanding and respect for diversity, and to improve academic outcomes.
Interested in learning more about culture in relation to early childhood development? ChildCareEd has several courses available to support providers in their work with a diverse population of children.