Culture, Diversity, and Equity

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About this Competency

This competency area underscores the concept that there is no knowledge base, skill set, teaching practice, or curriculum for early development and learning that can be applied for all children. Early development and learning must be viewed within a cultural context and occurs through social contexts, as in families and communities, using language and everyday experiences (California Department of Education 2009a). Cultural perspectives of children, families, staff, and colleagues vary widely on issues such as differences in individual children’s learning, strengths, and abilities; gender identity and gender-specific roles; family composition and member roles; generational experiences and perspectives; communication styles; regulation and discipline; coordination and physical development; and acquisition and synthesis of information (California Department of Education 2009b). Early educators who learn to think from a multicultural perspective are better able to provide opportunities that reflect each child's culture and family experiences (Banks 2006 and 2008). Learning environments are enriched when children’s individual characteristics, values, cultures, and temperaments — as well as diversity among children, families, and peers — are respected and valued in concrete ways.

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California Early Childhood Educator Competencies

California Early Childhood Educator Competencies Wheel

Framing Questions

Framing questions identify some of the major themes in this competency. They provide you with a starting point. As you explore this competency, add your own framing questions for issues you want to further examine.

  • How do your own cultural background, experiences, and biases impact your professional practices with children and adults?
  • How does your view of each child as an individual, a member of a family, a member of your group, and as a member of a culture, influence your practice?
  • How do you discover the cultural perspectives of your families and colleagues, and negotiate them in your program?
  • How do you create an environment that is safe, fair, and affirming for children, families, and staff, as you work towards cultural and linguistic democracy?


Keep these dispositions in mind as you explore the Framing Questions. If you mindfully adopt these dispositions, you will realize the Desired Outcomes for Practitioners and for Children.

  • Is aware of how a person's values, beliefs, and worldview influence one's perceptions of the values, beliefs, and worldviews of others.
  • Attends to and respects cultural and family beliefs, values, traditions, and practices; welcomes diverse perspectives of all children and families in the community.
  • Strives for effective, respectful, and culturally responsive communication and practices with children, families, staff, and colleagues.
  • Works to create equitable circumstances for children, families, and others in the early care and education profession.

Desired Outcomes for practitioners

If I have these dispositions, then I will…

  • have increased awareness and understanding of my own identity and cultural contexts in my childhood and current life.
  • achieve a greater level of mutual comfort in a group whose members are not all alike.
  • increase perspective-taking and empathy by naming the realities of bias and privilege.
  • become an activist.

Desired Outcomes for Children

If teachers and caregivers have these dispositions, then children will…

  • be treated fairly.
  • feel safe to be who they are.
  • be curious about and caring toward others.
  • stand up for themselves and others.

Keys to Reflection and Inquiry

The CompSAT Keys to Reflection and Inquiry offer you a protocol to use in whatever setting you work as an early childhood educator. Learn how you can integrate the six Keys into your work. Select one of the Keys below to practice reflecting with questions related to the competency area of Culture, Diversity, and Equity.


Choose from one of the Keys below to view additional information related to this Competency!

Build Your Portfolio

Articles for publication:
Using the portfolio to examine tough topics in a public way.

Portfolio screenshot

Chronicling your observations, wonderings, and growth in a topic area can take many forms. In this portfolio segment, the practitioner prepared an article for publication. She documented her experiences, thoughts, and discussions about poverty and early care and education programs, describing her personal experiences and questions, as well as the experiences of families she knows. She wanted to share this particular segment with a broad audience, so she formatted it as an article to be submitted for publication to a professional journal.

View the Portfolio Sample

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