While we celebrate diversity in many areas, students receive an education that does not always expose them in the most beneficial way. There are several reasons why a child should be introduced to different cultures at an early age. Through language development, social skills, and acceptance of varying traditions, education plays a crucial part in a child’s foundation.
Children introduced to diversity at a young age acquire stronger social skills and are more receptive to those who speak a different language or have a different background than their parents. According to research, these children are open to imitation regardless of language, which demonstrates their willingness to learn. Immersing children in culturally diverse activities gives them the opportunity to become more comfortable with the difference in race, religion, language, and lifestyle. As this becomes the norm, a child’s tolerance and open-mindedness for others increases.
Exposing children to diversity early on can have an impact on how successful they are as adults. According to a study which recorded youths from seven countries, children between 4 and 15 years old rejected unfair deals that gave others advantages and disadvantages. By learning to work with others regardless of status or race, children will incorporate those attitudes well into adulthood. It is imperative to give each child the opportunity to learn and grow as young as possible. As we do so, their world views will surely become more open-minded and aware. The future lies within the young, providing them with the opportunity to learn will surely have a great impact on society in the long run.
Stereotypes & Prejudice
Stereotyping and prejudice are among the most prevalent and significant psychological and social problems in the world (Minority Right Group, 2010; Save the Children, 2006). Both profoundly affect the security, mental health, and well-being of people in general, and of children in particular. The adverse consequences of stereotyping and prejudice on children and youth include poor school achievement, low self-esteem, health and behavioral problems, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, social exclusion, and generally compromised social–emotional growth (Flanagan, Syvertsen, Gill, Gallay, & Cumsille, 2009; Gaylord-Harden & Cunningham, 2009; Hernandez, 2008; Inzlicht & Kang, 2010; Levy & Killen, 2008; Paradies, 2006; Rivas- Drake, Hughes, & Way, 2009; Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002; Williams, Neighbors, & Jackson, 2003). These outcomes have drawn the attention of social and educational psychologists in the last three decades, which has led to the proliferation of stereotyping and prejudice reduction programs.
Prejudice is a widespread social phenomenon. It is associated with profound negative outcomes, and its consequences on youth are observed on educational, social, physical, and psychological levels (see Inzlicht et al. 2011; Rutland and Killen 2015; Schmitt et al. 2014). As a result, social, developmental, and educational psychologists have worked for decades on research and program development to identify the best practices in stereotyping and prejudice reduction (SPR) for youth of all ages.
Unity Through Sport is excited to integrate components of proven impactful models and prejudice reduction programs into the virtual training and in person sports programs that we build for years to come – contributing to a world where our children and our children’s children can look at everyone with a beating heart as equal.