Last October we introduced four Fun Learning characters Tuka, Waaba, Maco and Soca. Their personalities and learning styles are as quirky and different as the way they each look. However, one of the key qualities they all share is embracing diversity. To understand why, let’s take a closer look at the significance of diversity and its role in early education.
What is diversity?
Diversity is not just another ‘buzz word’. It describes the dynamic and vibrant landscape our societies and neighborhoods are evolving into. It is fueled by globalization, which is interconnecting us and bringing the world a little bit more closer everyday. As a result understanding, respecting and navigating through our differences is more important today than ever before. This requires developing a combination of life skills including communication skills, problem solving, teamwork and cultural competence. Thus, it is pivotal for kids to develop these skills from an early age, so they can engage positively with diversity.
Are children biased?
Children are not born with bias, but they learn it starting from a very young age. The study Drawing the Future found career aspirations of primary school children were shaped by gender stereotypes, socio-economic backgrounds, TV, film and radio. Moreover, it also discovered children’s decision of who they want to be in the future was most influenced by role models. This was according to data gathered from over 20,000 children between the ages 7-11 years from 13 different countries. Furthermore, these career aspirations changed very little as they grew up, remaining unaltered even at the age of 18.
Problem with the absence of diversity
The biggest problem is you can’t be what you can’t see. Redraw the Balance asked 66 eight-year-olds to draw a surgeon, a firefighter and pilot. While 61 of the children drew men, only 5 drew women. Furthermore, the Equality of Opportunity Project in the U.S. shows boys from white, upper-class backgrounds are more likely to be inventors. Moreover, white children are three times as likely as black children to hold patents in the U.S., while girls only hold 18%. All in all these studies highlight an alarming probability of a little child’s future being determined by her ‘social status’.
How to promote diversity
We need more Fun Learning characters like Tuka, Waaba, Soca and Maco to help kids understand and embrace diversity. We must celebrate women and men from all walks of life from astronauts to renowned cellists, who are using their talents to make a positive change in the world. Moreover, we need innovative educational content such as the Future Astronaut Program promoting inclusiveness and equality. Kids need role models as diverse as they are to learn innovation and success can be achieved by anyone. We want to create a world where determination, hard work and creativity decide how far you go in life. This is why diversity matters.
Learn more about our Fun Learning solutions and initiatives. They support little children to embrace diversity and develop key life skills.