Supporting your child’s cultural identity

Australia is a culturally diverse nation. As your child learns about their own cultural identity and the differences between cultures, they develop a strong sense of belonging and can feel a part of the community.

At home

Kids are generally curious about their world, and will often ask about differences they see between people. By talking to your child about the differences in language, the way people dress or look, you are helping your child understand and respect cultural differences. You might want to discuss ways they can engage with children of different cultural backgrounds to play and make friends.

Learning about other cultures also allows your child to build a firm understanding of their own cultural identity.

At a service

Talking to your local service about your child’s heritage and culture helps the educators ensure all children are included and feel a sense of belonging. The way we communicate is influenced by our cultural beliefs and values and language, and having an understanding of a child’s cultural background helps educators engage and communicate with them in a relevant and meaningful way.

You may visit the service before your child attends to show them what it is like and understand if there are any cultural differences they may not understand (eating practices, conversation, language etc.). You can discuss ways your child can share their culture with other children, to give them a sense of cultural pride and ownership.

If your child’s first language is not English, they may need help to understand instructions and join in conversation at a service. Make sure you let educators know if English is a second language for your child.

If you need an interpreter, ask your service about booking a free interpreter service (more information here).

Image Children of different ethnic backgrounds smile and play together at an early childhood service

Published — 15 September 2016 Last updated — 28 November 2016