Back to School for Multicultural and Biracial Kids

This post is part of the Back to School with Kid Blogger Network Linky Party (see below).

As a parent of a multicultural and biracial child we have been cultivating his racial and cultural awareness and identity since he was born. Encouraging him to accept and celebrate his and other’s differences is part of our daily lives.

In spite of my efforts, and a very positive experience in his preschool I often wonder if that is enough when he goes out into the “real world”, away from home and back to school.

back to school multicultural and biracial kids

Tips for Parents

I lucked out when my child was in preschool. One of the things that I enjoyed about the preschool  was knowing that although it was predominantly Black they had multicultural dolls, toys, posters,  and a variety of diverse children’s book.  They encouraged conversations about diversity, respect for others, and acceptance.

children school
Photo via Flickr under Common Creatives – Peter Reid

So what can we do as parents to help our child’s school and teachers support multicultural and/or biracial kids?

Meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss the challenges that your multicultural/biracial child may encounter helps the teacher better understand how to deal with unwanted or unexpected comments from classmates.

For instance, I often get asked “What are you?” As an adult, I am not fazed by the question. Nevertheless, children can feel overwhelmed with such a question, especially when they look different from the rest!  Respectfully, ask teachers to talk openly in a positive manner about different races, ethnic groups, and cultures.  Helping children find answers to such question in a positive light will help them be more accepting of others differences.

Inquire about what types of multicultural books they have in the classroom, and if they don’t have any you can donate books from around the world.

Popular children's books translated into Arabic.
Popular children’s books translated into Arabic. Photo via Flickr under Common Creatives – Dennis Jarvis

Offer to volunteer a story time or sing-along playing session in your child’s native language. Have your child be your “helper.”  Doing so, instills in your child a sense of pride by sharing his culture, language and/or music with his classmates.

titocollage2

Looking for more tips I turned to ask members from our Multicultural Kids Blog,  “How did you prepare your multicultural and biracial children for school?” and these are their answers: 

  • “My sons go to a French international school. But, we speak English at home. So, as it gets closer to the start of school, we try to read more French books, watch French movies or TV shows, and find other ways to get my sons used to thinking, learning and playing – all in French.”  Aimee from Raising World Citizens
  • “As a homeschooling mom, I start gathering all the materials I’ll need for the year that pass on culture and language. This includes books, videos, games, and curricula. It gets me excited!” Monica from Mommy Maestra 
  • “The only thing I worry about is if we’ll be required to bring in baby pictures (which we don’t have) or do a family tree. I always discreetly ask the teacher to be sensitive and creative so that kids who are adopted can still participate (like asking for a photo when “they are younger” or letting them make a “family/friends” tree of important people in their life. That also helps blended families and all of the unique families that don’t fit into the cookie cutter mom/dad/kids mold.”  Becky from Kid World Citizen
  • “I always try to speak the language he will use at school more a month before he goes. I always worry about communication issues.” Tara from Tara Kamiya
  • “Every year before school starts I put together a World Language & Culture program proposal with focus on the Chinese language for my children’s room teachers. My kids help me with the ideas and activities. I present it to the teachers and chairperson of the grade when school starts and see if they can add this parent-initiated program into their curriculum/schedule. It has worked for the past 7 years.” Amanda from Miss Panda Chinese

Tips for Teachers and Schools 

Here are a few suggestions on how teachers, and schools can celebrate, encourage and support multicultural and biracial kids:

  • Display pictures, posters, books, and  images of biracial/multicultural families in their classroom.
  • Remove  any materials and visuals that promote stereotypes.
  • Incorporate global music, and dance in their lessons.  Ask parents to bring cultural CD’s of music they enjoy. This is a great way to expose the children to different types of music.
  • Make multicultural musical instruments like a  A Mayan Style Water Drum or an An Australian Bullroarer.
  • Have an assortment of  toys, and dolls that are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and reflect the cultures of the children in your classroom.
  • Organize a monthly international multicultural day to include various cultures and backgrounds into the classroom.  Invite parents and students to enrich discussions with their own ethnic traditions and experiences.
  • Reference The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners by the authors Homa Sabet Tavangar and Becky Mladic-Morales.
  • During play times or activities reorganize children to foster integration amongst them thus avoiding segregation.   

Most importantly for teachers is to create an environment of diversity, and respect for multicultural and biracial kids. Therefore,  making back to school a smooth transition.  

 

Back to School with KBN Linky Party

Welcome to the Annual Back to School with Kid Blogger Network Linky Party featuring activities, crafts, supply ideas, recipes, organization, books and MORE to get your family ready for the upcoming school year!

And what better way to kick things off than with a giveaway! The prizes are sponsored by Safari Ltd, Melissa and Doug, Trunki. Plus $50 Gift Certificates were donated for Printable Packets and/or eBooks from The Educators’ Spin On It, 3 Dinosaurs, Preschool Powol Packets, This Reading Mama, & Life Over C’s. Don’t miss out – enter to WIN! For US Residents only.

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Back to School Linky Party Link up your kid-friendly posts to have them featured on 35 blogs who are members of the Kid Blogger Network. We invite you to visit a few posts from participants, leave a comment, and share on social media! Thank you so much for sharing your Back to School Resources! *By linking up, you agree to have your images shared with credit. Back to School Activities and Resources

The Back to School Linky Party is hosted by members of the Kid Blogger Network:

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Frances Díaz Evans is a Latina Author, Educator, Multicultural and Language Advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of the East in Puerto Rico and a master's degree in Spanish education from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. She is the founder and writer of the multicultural, bilingual parenting website, Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes and Discovering Español (Discovering Spanish), a business dedicated to teaching Spanish online. She can be found musing on her blog, Facebook and her favorite social media platform Instagram.

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3 thoughts on “Back to School for Multicultural and Biracial Kids”

  1. As a multi-racial child, I completely identify with this post. I never saw any children’s books with kids that looked like me, so I felt a little left out. When I drew pictures, I drew kids that didn’t resemble me at all, because that’s not what I saw.

    With our kids, we make an effort to read books featuring all kinds of kids, but especially ones they can relate to.

    Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Selena! As a Latina growing up, I didn’t see children that look like me either. Thankfully, now we have more diversity in children’s book. Although it’s a work in a progress I’m happy that I can find books that my son can see himself in. 🙂

      You’re doing a wonderful job with your kids exposing them to all kinds of different children’s book.

      Thank you for commenting!

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