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As an early childhood educator, you are entrusted with shaping children for the future. Creating a multicultural environment in the learning space is one of the most effective ways of helping children prepare for this world as they learn inclusive ways of thinking, working and being. The following article provides ideas and strategies for creating a multicultural environment in an early childhood setting. 

Respect for Diversity is one of the main principles that underpin the Belonging, Becoming and Being: Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Thus it is mandatory for services and educators to use practice that incorporates diverse cultures, especially in monocultural classrooms where opportunities for practice diversity can appear limited. Here are some examples of ways diverse cultures can be embedded in everyday practice.

Holi is celebrated on 18 March. It is an Indian Hindu festival of colours. As it celebrates in spring, it is called the “Festival of Spring.” In India, it is a holiday, celebrated wide across the country. Children also celebrate by applying colour to each other.

Children can create these pumpkins as part of Halloween celebrations.

ANZAC Day is commemorated on 25th April and is one of the most important national commemorative occasions in Australia, marking the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand armed forces during World War One. Learning about ANZAC Day helps young children to understand the life and times of Australia and its people. The ceremony and traditions are such an integral part of our culture that it gives us an opportunity to talk to children about the importance of ANZAC Day.

As educators, we need to incorporate cultural celebrations within the setting in a sensitive and respectful manner by avoiding cultural tokenism - which is the act of making a small minimal effort towards something.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cultures are valued and significant in Australia and it's essential for educators to help children understand the history, culture and lives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Many different people from different backgrounds, religions, beliefs and traditions make up Australia. We offer such diversity and provide such a multicultural society that it’s part of the unique qualities about Australia. Those who have come from near and far call Australia their home and it’s our social acceptance and Harmony that make Australia a better place.

As part of the children’s program, it’s important to undertake cultural celebrations in acknowledging rights and traditions. This yearly calendar has a variety of monthly cultural and community celebrations which can be acknowledged within the program and adapted to suit the needs of the children and their families within the service.

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