World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is here and we want to share with you 3 quick tips on how to incorporate diversity and inclusion into playtime. Whether you work with children in the classroom or you have one or more kids at home, the quick tips below will help promote diversity and inclusion.
1.Honor Special Days & Holidays: We all know how fun it is to celebrate “themed” days both nationally and internationally . It seems as though there is a day for everything! From World Down Syndrome Awareness Day to National Emoji Day, there is literally a day to celebrate anything you can imagine. Celebrations are a great way to educate and stimulate positive thoughts about people with different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities. You can celebrate and discuss the history and background of ethnically diverse days to your students by learning about the types of foods that culture eat or discuss the similarities and differences we have with people with different abilities, focusing on how we can help them feel included.
2.Introduce doll play into the narrative: One of the best ways to practice social skills is through play. At Miniland, we of course are huge proponents of learning through play. Teachers love using our dolls for role-playing, enhancing social skills, and showcasing diversity, helping little ones learn about inclusivity and acceptance. Both children with Down syndrome and those without need access to toys that closely resemble them to feel both a connection to a doll that’s just like them or that may look like a friend or family member. To fully support representation and acceptance of others, we made a conscious effort to create dolls of varying genders, ethnicities and skin tones. With our Dolls with Down syndrome, we wanted to begin the narrative early to pave the way to normalize the condition, showcasing the sweet facial characteristics of babies with Down syndrome in a realistic and respectful way.
Let your students play with the dolls and ask questions if they have them. For example, a student might want to know why the dolls’ eyes may look different than theirs. Answering with the facts, in a simplified way, will help the student understand.
Opening the discussion for questions about Down syndrome gives you an opportunity to highlight facts from disrespectful narratives or terminology. It will also help other students who may be shy or embarrassed about asking a question gain the knowledge they need to treat people with DS kindly.
3. Provide Opportunities for Acceptance:Allowing children to be themselves and showcase their unique differences will lead to a more accepting and socially aware classroom. One of the biggest triggers for acceptance lies within special needs and racial diversity. These topics are actually quite easy to explain to children of this age who are more likely to just accept those around them at face value. By providing them with the right tools and messages, they are less likely to lose that acceptance as they grow up. One of the simplest ways to provide easy access to acceptance of those that are unique, whether it’s a different race or a person with special needs, is to have toys and games that showcase these differences in a positive way. Miniland’s award-winning Dolls with Down Syndrome that come in various ethnicities and showcase the sweet facial characteristics of babies with Down syndrome in a realistic and respectful way. Both children with Down syndrome and those without need access to toys that closely resemble them to feel both a connection to a doll that’s just like them and also a connection to a doll that may look like a friend or family member. The benefits of doll play, both emotionally and educationally, are limitless. Our dolls serve to support a child’s self-confidence as well as teach both self-acceptance and acceptance others.
By creating a positive, kind environment where students have the opportunity to listen and practice positive communication, we can do our part to encourage kindness and respect. For more information on Miniland’s SEL products, follow us on Instagram @MinilandUSA and Facebook at MinilandUSA.