Diverse world - Help for early years providers (2023)

Learn more about the diverse world as part of the early years foundation stage (EYFS), including advice from experts and suggested activities.

Why diverse world is important

Diversity describes differences in age, culture, family structures, disabilities, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation. Understanding of a diverse world also includes understanding technological and ecological diversity.

There’s diversity in all communities. The more experience children have of being out and about in their community the more they are able to understand their community and make a contribution.

Having an idea of who they are as a child, within a family, leads naturally to being curious about everyone else. Starting in a setting or belonging to a childminder’s family, children begin to sense other relationships outside their own family.

From an early age children have formed attitudes towards children different from themselves. Support children to be curious about people around them, to see and understand similarities and differences. In this way children will be curious and respectful about others and become a positive member of a diverse world.

Children need to be able to form positive relationships, especially with other people who do things differently to themselves and their family. Children’s natural curiosity needs to be nurtured, nourished and extended to include their friends in the setting.

The diverse world should be integral to everyday practice, as well as the celebrations of religious days, visitors and visits. Make sure your setting reflects the diverse world. For example, you can look at musical instruments you have and find out where they originate from. In this way knowledge is built up that can be used incidentally with the children.

Developing a child’s understanding of a diverse world builds their knowledge of the world, about families, seasons and days of the week, places, days gone by, natural habitats and the built environment. Their knowledge of the world is enriched with non-fiction and story books and a growing repertoire of songs, rhymes and poetry.

Over time children become aware of the impact people have on the environment. Examples include understanding that it is important to care for small creatures, not to drop litter, the value of growing your own food, to reuse, recycle, reduce and repurpose.

Young children learn that they can make informed choices and selections. This helps them to engage in the world in a positive way.To further enrich the child’s knowledge and sense of the world, help them to learn about the natural and built environments around them. Talk to young children about ecological diversity in terms of differences and similarities in:

  • animal habitats, including sea life, birds and minibeasts
  • weather
  • the seasons
  • the countryside such as farms, fields, woods, moorland and seaside
  • urban areas including towns and cities
  • places in the world, such as, forest, woodland, desert, jungle and oceans
  • built environments, types of buildings, different homes, roads and waterways

Diversity in technology can be defined in different ways, think about who has access to technological devices at home and in the setting. It’s important to make sure all children are supported to become more technologically aware in the world around them. Talk about what is used in the home, in shops, including the use of mobile phones, tablets and computers.

The focus in the early years is on active learning, however, if children have no or little access to technological devices at home, it’s important to include provision in the setting for them. Children love to be involved in audio and video recording and taking photographs. Young children start to learn how to keep themselves safe, so always ask children if they are okay with having their photographs taken. They will learn to ask permission of others.

(Video) Serving Diverse Families: Strategies for Early Childhood Service Providers


In this video, an early years expert explains the importance of the diverse world in the early years foundation stage framework. There are also some tips on how to support children in this area.

What the EYFS framework says

Listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverseworld. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity withwords that support understanding across domains.

Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage. Page 10

What this means in practice

When you’re confident in your own principles and values around diversity, you can ask genuine questions about families who are different to your own. In this way you’re demonstrating to the children and their families that everyone needs to have a genuine interest in others. Your interests may be about a parent or carer’s job, or a specialist skill, or heritage. If a child lives between 2 different homes, offer support to both parents or carers.

Recognise that one community that is represented, for example, by one religion is a complex entity. Not everyone in one community acts the same. Therefore, making an assumption about a person because of their difference is unhealthy.

Having people visit, or going out on trips helps develop yours and the children’s ideas about the diverse world. Both need to be planned carefully. Consider the relevance of ecological diversity (natural and made environments) and technological diversity (seeing examples of technology in the environment) when planning visits.

Children, including babies, benefit from visitors. When professionals visit regularly, such as police officers, fire fighters, doctors or nurses, they become familiar people to the children. Children gain confidence to ask questions and listen actively.

Suggested activities

A Diwali celebration

Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindu, Sikh, Jain and some Buddhist communities. Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist families participate in the 5 day festival during the autumn, check online calendars for dates each year.

It’s important in settings where the Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist communities are not represented to celebrate Diwali because of its significance in Britain’s diverse cultures. When an event is not a direct experience for most of the children, it needs to be made as real and meaningful as possible by you.

Families celebrating Diwali will be creating Rangoli Patterns on their doorsteps, using chalk, exchanging gifts and Diwali cards, and eating specially prepared food. There are street lights, lighting Diva lights at home, as well as fireworks.

In your setting or childminder’s home, enrich the environment to reflect elements of the Diwali festival, for example:

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  • watch and play alongside the children and provide them with more information about the Diwali festival
  • use images and short films available from BBC Bitesize and CBeebies
  • have a selection of information and story books available, accessible to the children and read to them when they show an interest, simplifying the text if necessary

Inform the children’s families of the 5 day long Diwali festival. They may have resources they can bring in such as, Indian artefacts like puppets, elephant ornaments or clothing.

You may want to hold back some parts of the activity like the cooking, until maybe, day 3 or 4.

On day 5, have a Diwali celebration, play Indian music, eat Indian food and provide music for dancing inside and out.

A popular Indian dance is the dance with sticks or Ludi. Show the children a film of a Ludi dance, readily available on YouTube. Children will enjoy making up their own Ludi dance. Check with the parents to see if anyone could demonstrate the dance for you. Note that the Ludi Dance is also performed at the Muslim Eid (Eid ul fitr and Eid ul adha) and wedding celebrations.

How this activity links with the other areas of learning

For a child to have their family’s religious festival recognised is deeply personal and enriching. For children who are unfamiliar with Diwali their social understanding is developed, knowing what happens for other children (personal, social and emotional development). The Diwali celebrations will stimulate interaction between adults and children (communication and language). Opportunities for children to manipulate different materials like clay, paint, paper, scissors, will develop their fine motor skills, which contributes to later mark making and writing. physical development and literacy.

Visit to a local supermarket or corner shop

Family life has changed dramatically, and some children will not have experienced shopping at all. Local supermarkets, whether they are the equivalent to a ‘corner shop’ or are on a larger scale, offer a range of possibilities for supporting children’s understanding of diverse worlds. There are opportunities to develop children’s understanding of cultural, social, technological and ecological diversity.

The more frequently these visits are planned the more children will understand what it means to go shopping. Shopping with the family is a different experience and the children will benefit from you talking them through the experience.

Before the visit:

  • formally arrange the visit so that you are expected
  • plan to take as small group as is possible and visit several times, rather than trying to take everyone at once
  • visit the shop, with a colleague, before you take the children so that you know what to expect
  • inform the shop manager or owner that the children are very young and let them know if the group includes babies
  • complete a risk assessment and share it with every adult who is going on the visit
  • try to anticipate what might happen so that you are well prepared
  • take a first aid kit, as you would do for all walks outside of your setting or childminder home
  • if you need to travel on public transport, make this a part of the visit, it will offer much to support the diverse world and many other aspects of a child’s learning and development
  • make a shopping list with the children, make it purposeful, for example:
    • a range of fruits (maybe the fruits for Handa’s Surprise)
    • a selection of vegetables (the vegetables for Oliver’s Vegetables)
    • cooking ingredients, for example for dough, a birthday cake, daal, soup, a favourite family recipe
  • if you are visiting a supermarket it may be best to visit just one section

On the way to the shop or supermarket, listen to the children and respond to any of their questions, concerns, needs.On arrival, explain to the children that this is potentially a busy place and so we need to be aware of everyone around us.

Some supermarkets provide child-sized trollies to use if you can.

Support all the children to be actively involved and have a role. Who is going to look after the shopping list and tick off each item? (Have a mini-sized clipboard), who is going to take items off the shelf? Who is going to look after the money?

Show the children where machines and devices are used. Give time for the children to observe while you describe what is happening. For example, when looking at the weighing scales in the fruit and vegetable section, ask, ‘I wonder what this machine is for?’

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Note the countries of origin. Some older children may have travelled abroad and can recall the experience. If they have been to Spain, it is likely that there will be fruit imported from Spain. If they or their family members have visited the Caribbean, show them the sweet potatoes. You could buy different types of potatoes to explore back at the setting.

If they or their relatives have been to either the Caribbean, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan, India or Bangladesh, show them coriander, chillies, ginger, garlic, aubergines and okra and rice, ingredients for Chinese cookery. You could cook a stir fry back at the setting.

With older children, think about how far the food has been transported to reach the supermarket. How has the food been transported? When returning to the setting see how many different trucks can be spotted that are transporting foodstuffs. These discussions will deepen children’s ecological awareness of the impact of food transport on the environment.

Take photographs of the children.

For some children, the shop or supermarket will be familiar to them. Let them tell their story and show others around.

You will know when the children are ready to leave and walk back to the setting or childminder’s home.

A supermarket visit could also have a science focus. Focus on how food is grown. Purchase onions, garlic and ginger to find how long before green shoots appear and then they can be planted either in the setting garden or in indoor pots. Root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots also sprout when left.

Buy the ingredients for tactile play and kitchen science experiments, such as cream of tartar, baking soda and vinegar, ingredients for bread or cream for making butter.

Explore different packaging and look at the materials used, are they fit for purpose?

Buy white flowers to take back to the setting and add ink to the water to observe the water move through their stems, the capillary action.

Go to the fish counter and choose a fish for the children to examine closely back in the setting. This needs to be done with the guidance of an adult. Children could learn to name the parts of the fish and experience touching the scales.

How this activity links to the other areas of learning

Visits out of the setting or the childminder’s home offer rich opportunities for develop children’s talking and listening (communication and language). Visits are physically demanding for very young children, using their whole bodies to walk, get onto and off a bus or train and building their stamina (physical development). Young children may be familiar with self-check-out and the use of cards to pay (expressive arts and design). Having real money will be a new experience for many children (mathematics).

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Other activities

Over the period of a year, plan for as many different visitors as possible to come into the setting, but also for the children to visit their place of work.

Visits to cafes that offer foods from different parts of the world.

Invite performers into the setting who sing and play music from around the world (make sure you carry out the appropriate checks).

Ideas for how to bring cultural diversity into the early years.

What other nurseries and childminders are doing

“Everyone knows us in the community because we are out there going for walks, throughout the year. It’s good for the children and it’s good for the outside world to see them.”

Julie, childminder, Ilkley.

“We ask families for some holiday photographs, which we print off, laminate and use as a resource. These resources spark lots of talk between the adult and children as well as between the children themselves.”

Cathey, Nursery Manager, London

“This Christmas we asked every family to bring one tree ornament for the Christmas tree. It was wonderful. We had decorations from all over the world and every child knew which one was theirs.”

Mandy, Naturally Learning, Truro.


  • Diversity describes differences in age, culture, disabilities, ethnicity, gender, religion and sexual orientation.
  • In Britain, there is diversity in all local communities.
  • From a very early age children have formulated attitudes towards other children and families different from their own.
  • Make sure your setting reflects the diversity in Britain and includes frequent visits out into the community and welcomes visitors into the setting.
  • Making sure that adults in the setting respect diversity supports children to develop their understanding of a diverse world.
  • A child’s understanding of diversity in the world develops as they learn about the natural and built environments around them, as well as what they learn about the wider world.
  • Children need to be supported to become technologically aware in the setting and on visits. They need to learn to keep themselves safe.

Next steps

  • Think about your knowledge and understanding of the diverse world. Consider where you are most confident and where you know your knowledge is less secure. Research these areas.
  • Consider if your setting reflects a diverse world. Check your resources for diversity. For example, do dolls and small world figures reflect the diverse world.
  • Try singing songs in different languages. Set yourself the challenge of learning a ‘hello’ song in as many different languages as possible.
  • Check your books to make sure they reflect a diverse world. Identify any gaps and start to fill these. Include self-made books that reflect the diversity of the local community.
  • Plan some visits over the year, to make sure there is a variety as well as going back to places that are popular with the children.
  • Review your curriculum to ensure you cover the requirements in the EYFS for this area of learning.

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(Video) Teaching diversity in your toddler/preschool classroom

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How can you promote understanding the world in early years? ›

In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains.

What are the 5 types of diversity in a childcare program? ›

Although there are various ways to exhibit diversity, the five main ways they demonstrate this for children in their environment are with race, culture, age, abilities, and non-conforming gender roles.

How do you promote diversity in preschool? ›

Provide students with paint, paper, and crayons that represent diverse skin tones as often as possible. Allow students to choose the color of paint, paper, or crayons they want to use. Communicate regularly with a class in a different country via Skype. Read diverse picture books to your class often.

How do you support diversity in childcare? ›

Respect for Diversity in Childcare Examples
  1. A simple way to demonstrate respect for diversity is to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land. ...
  2. Another simple exercise is to acknowledge the diversity of the children within the room by creating a map showing where all the children have come from.

How can you support inclusion and diversity in childcare? ›

Strategies to Raise an Inclusive Child
  1. Be a role model. Children follow what we do more than what we say, so it's important that our actions are sending the right message. ...
  2. Teach compassion. ...
  3. Explain differences, don't ignore them. ...
  4. Use children's literature.
Nov 23, 2022

Why is it important for educators to have an understanding of global issues? ›

Students are interested in being better global citizens. Learning about world events in the classroom allows them to study the past in order to change the future. Research shows that students who learn about global issues are more than twice as likely to see the importance of personally taking social action.

Why is understanding the world important in early years? ›

Understanding of the World is about how children get to know about other people, the place where they live and about all aspects of the environment. In the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage, Understanding the World is broken down into three aspects: People and Communities.

How can educators support diversity? ›

Having open, honest discussion is important for children to learn about viewpoints different than their own. Create a list of prejudices they have recently witnessed and discuss them as a group. Extend their learning by creating resources about these prejudices, and share them with the school or community.

What are the six 6 best strategies for working with diversity? ›

Six Strategies for Embracing Diversity in the Workplace
  • Start the conversation. ...
  • Increase accountability and transparency. ...
  • Develop inclusive leadership skills. ...
  • Notice the diversity (or lack of it) during discussions and decisions. ...
  • Pay attention to how all people are treated. ...
  • Act as a vocal ally.

What are examples of diversity programs? ›

Diversity program ideas are group activities designed to foster a workplace culture where all team members feel accepted and appreciated for their unique identities. Examples include Diversity Briefings, Music and Dance, Art, and Word Clouds.

What are the 5 ways to teach children about diversity? ›

How to involve kids
  • Acknowledge differences. ...
  • Ask open-ended questions and listen without judgment. ...
  • Take time when you need it. ...
  • Speak up when bias happens. ...
  • Read diverse books and watch diverse media together. ...
  • Discuss current events at an age-appropriate level with help from resources like Table Talk.
Sep 15, 2021

What activities can you do to promote diversity? ›

15 Team-Building Activities to Promote Diversity and Inclusion
  • Draw a Diversity Flower. ...
  • Host a Happy Hour. ...
  • Plan a Heritage Potluck. ...
  • Make Sushi Together. ...
  • Start a Book Club. ...
  • Try the Privilege Walk. ...
  • Establish a Gender-Neutral Jar. ...
  • Volunteer in the Community.
Jan 26, 2022

How do you create an inclusive environment in early years? ›

embrace and celebrate every child's uniqueness. treat all children and their families equally and with respect. include and support every child, regardless of ethnic background, culture, language, gender, socio-economic background or disability. ensure that every child is able to participate in activities.

How can an early childhood setting be culturally inclusive? ›

By encouraging families to participate in cultural activities and programs, it strengthens children's self-identity and promotes an inclusive practice in childcare.

How do you reflect diversity in childcare? ›

Some simple ideas can include:
  1. Pre plan cultural days ahead of time.
  2. Sing songs in different languages (ask families to write down words)
  3. Dance to music from different countries (ask families for music)
  4. Learning hello and goodbye in different languages.
  5. Cooking foods from around the world (ask families for recipes)
Jan 10, 2015

How does understanding the world support children's learning? ›

Understanding the World (UW) is one of the four specific areas of learning in the EYFS framework. It involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology, and the environment.

What role does an educator have in ensuring students receive global education? ›

The educator synthesizes current research and resources to gain an understanding of global education. After synthesizing, educator determines appropriate practices that incorporate global education.

What teaching strategies activities can be used to promote enhance global competence? ›

8 Strategies That Promote Global Competence
  • Support world language fluency: Developing fluency in at at least one other language is valuable and an integral part of developing global competence. ...
  • Take a big view. ...
  • Demonstrate intercultural competence. ...
  • Diversity. ...
  • Support travel. ...
  • Make room for projects. ...
  • Global to Local.
Sep 5, 2017

What are the early learning goals within understanding the world? ›

Understanding the World — Past and Present:

Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.

How play enables children to make sense of the world? ›

Play improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people. Through play, children learn about the world and themselves. They also learn skills they need for study, work and relationships such as: confidence.

Why is it important to understand the world around us? ›

The way we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world influences our behaviors and our beliefs. The dynamics of psychology — cognition, perception, learning, emotion, attitudes and relationships — all play a significant role in how humans see themselves and the many elements in their environment.

What is an example of global awareness? ›

Examples of global awareness are:

Referring to international sources in your work. Communicating with an overseas organisation. Learning a new language and cultural tradition. Creating work with other language users in mind.

How can you promote global literacy and multiculturalism in the classroom? ›

This can be done by teaching the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity, encouraging group activities in the classroom with differentiated instruction, making language visible and accessible and developing a classroom expectation regarding respect for self and others (The National Association for Multicultural ...

How can teachers help children value diversity in others? ›

Introduce your children to diverse groups, such as a new religious setting or cultural community events. The whole family will discover new things about themselves and others through participation in new cultural experiences. Redirect Intolerant Behavior.

How do you promote cultural diversity? ›

Program public spaces with educational and cultural activities that celebrate diverse cultures. Programs that offer educational experiences related to the history or the environment of a particular place have been shown to be effective in bringing people together.

How do you handle diversity in workplace Give 5 examples? ›

Here are some ways that will help overcome diversity challenges:
  • Take a look at your recruiting and hiring practices. ...
  • Establish mentoring opportunities. ...
  • Promote team work. ...
  • Make inclusion a priority. ...
  • Provide Diversity Training.

What are six 6 Examples of types of diversity? ›

Here's a breakdown of these forms of diversity:
  • Cultural diversity. This type of diversity is related to each person's ethnicity and it's usually the set of norms we get from the society we were raised in or our family's values. ...
  • Race diversity. ...
  • Religious diversity. ...
  • Age diversity. ...
  • Sex / Gender / Sexual orientation. ...
  • Disability.

What are diversity and inclusion programs? ›

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a term used to describe policies and programs that promote the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.

How do you implement a diversity program? ›

Steps for Building a D&I Program
  1. Step 1: Collect the Data. ...
  2. Step 2: Identify Areas of Concern and Develop Objectives. ...
  3. Step 3: Craft and Implement Diversity & Inclusion Training. ...
  4. Step 4: Communicate Initiatives. ...
  5. Step 5: Measure and Dispatch Results.
Apr 21, 2022

What is the best way to embrace diversity? ›

Being respectful is the key to adapting to a new, diverse environment. To prevent or resolve conflicts that may occur in any social interaction, you should maintain an attitude of respect for others, be open-minded and willing to compromise, and know how to work together calmly to resolve conflicts.

How do you teach diversity in preschool? ›

How to support diversity throughout the year
  1. Involve parents in teaching diversity. ...
  2. Ensure your toys, books, and materials are diverse. ...
  3. Discuss and compare cultural traditions. ...
  4. Introduce sing-along songs with multicultural themes and lyrics in different languages.
Feb 17, 2019

What are 5 actions that we can do to respect the diversity? ›

How to respect diversity in a school or work environment
  • Accept people's differences but find common ground. ...
  • Learn something new from people that are different to you, don't shut it down. ...
  • Make sure you give everyone a chance to have an opinion. ...
  • Avoid using stereotypes and recognise and address your own bias.

How can diversity be supported? ›

Actively engage in the diversity effort. You can take part in or start an Employee Resource Group, or volunteer to chair or serve on committees that organize diversity- related events and activities. Consider becoming a mentor, mentee, or part of a co- mentoring relationship.

How can an inclusive culture be supported within the early years setting? ›

deliver an inclusive and accessible environment for all. learning to challenge and promote the individual child's abilities and development. appropriate play-based educational activities, both indoors and outdoors, which develop their understanding, dispositions, skills and holistic development.

What are diversity programs examples? ›

Diversity program ideas are group activities designed to foster a workplace culture where all team members feel accepted and appreciated for their unique identities. Examples include Diversity Briefings, Music and Dance, Art, and Word Clouds.

What key strategies can enable diversity? ›

9 Proven Strategies to Improve Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Your Workplace
  • Identify DEIB as a strategic priority. ...
  • Conduct pay equity reviews. ...
  • Recruit and promote from a diverse POV. ...
  • Create a robust mentorship program. ...
  • Consistently train and engage employees on DEIB. ...
  • Make sure benefits and programs are inclusive.
Jun 22, 2021

How do you promote diversity and inclusive culture? ›

Ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  1. Be aware of unconscious bias.
  2. Communicate the importance of managing bias.
  3. Promote pay equity.
  4. Develop a strategic training program.
  5. Acknowledge holidays of all cultures.
  6. Make it easy for your people to participate in employee resource groups.
  7. Mix up your teams.
Jun 21, 2022

How do you create a culturally inclusive environment in childcare? ›

Develop strategic inclusion plans. Provide families with easy-to-read information about the services operations and inclusive practices. Respect the family input with shared decision-making. Discuss children's individual requirements, play preferences and incidents sensitively, respectfully and confidentially.

How do you create an inclusive environment in childcare? ›

3 Ways to create an Inclusive Early Childhood Setting
  1. Understand the Challenges Your Students Face. Some young children face physical and/or cognitive challenges that can result in learning delays or difficulties. ...
  2. Think in Terms of Inclusion. ...
  3. Use Available Technology.
Dec 17, 2014


1. Meaningful Inclusion in Early Childhood
2. EYFS – Literacy – Exploring words
(Department for Education)
3. Supplier Diversity Certification Explained
4. School Board Meeting | February 27, 2023
5. 11. S01:E11 – Supplier Diversity – How to Create a Meaningful Connection with Kristin Malek
(SupplierDiversity TV)
6. EYFS – Literacy – Writing
(Department for Education)


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