Diwali was celebrated on November 7th this year, in accordance with the Lunar Calendar, across Toronto. With over 2000 people identifying as Hindu in the Parkdale-High Park area alone, our local Diwali celebrations fostered a sense of home and community for those who observe the holiday, while increasing awareness, understanding, and compassion among children, parents and caregivers who observe other holidays.
At Creating Together, we celebrated with decorating paper diyas, henna painting, and the sharing of food and sweets.
According to Penn State Extension, children begin to notice gender and racial differences at about age 2, gender labels (boy/girl) and colours (including those applied to skin colour) at about 2 ½, and by 4-5 years, they start to display gender appropriate behavior and become fearful of differences.
Diversity activities teach young children to respect and celebrate the differences in all people, while also helping them understand who they are the context of race, ethnic group, culture, religion, geography, language and familial history. It helps them realize that we’re all humans, despite differences in how we look or dress, or what we eat or celebrate. Games and activities offer a fun way for young children to learn about differences and similarities among people and to introduce the concept of diversity. In so doing, we support them in their own identity formation and sense of belonging within the context of a diverse community.
Thank you to all of you who came out to enjoy Diwali with Creating Together this year.
May joy, prosperity, and happiness illuminate your life and your home!
Public Broadcasting Sysyem. “Diversity in the Classroom.” Precious Children. www.pbs.org/kcts/preciouschildren/diversity/
Biles, Barbara. “Activities that promote racial and cultural awareness.” In “Family Child Care Connections” edited by C. M. Todd 4(3): 4. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, 1994. Retrieved September 2012. http://www.pbs.org/kcts/preciouschildren/diversity/read_activities.html