All children have the need to be valued for who they are. Classroom activities that help children see their uniqueness as valuable encourage positive self-esteem. The activities also celebrate the diversity of cultures, traditions and languages that form the heritage of each student. Teachers can encourage children to create a climate where all people are welcome and accepted for their unique gifts and abilities.

I Am Thumbody!

Have each student print his thumb print on a sheet of paper. Across the top of the paper write “I Am Thumbody!” Explain that each person has a unique thumb print that distinguishes him from all other people. Ask each child to make a list of abilities and qualities that make him unique in the classroom. For example, he is the only student named Trenton, and he has a pet tarantula. As each student finishes his list, add his picture to the paper and post all of the sheets on a display board.

Celebrating Diversity

Have each student choose something that is unique about her family. Encourage each child to create a poster that illustrates some of the elements that make up that uniqueness. Tell students that family members may help her find ways to share her culture or abilities. Provide students with the opportunity to share their reports with the class. At the end of each presentation, have the class respond by saying, “We celebrate you in all your individual differences.”

Holiday Diversity

Allow children of different cultures to share their holiday traditions and foods throughout the course of the year. You might invite family members to come and make a presentation about the holiday and cultural differences and invite other students to enjoy the celebration.

Responsive Greetings

Invite the class to incorporate responsive greetings into the class routine. Greet each student at the door by name and welcome him into the class. Encourage students to greet other students in the same way. Use the responsive greeting to note something that is positive and unique to each student. For example, “Welcome to class, Cheyenne. I appreciate the way you encourage your classmates and make them feel welcome.” Comments should be honest, positive and encourage the students to celebrate each person’s unique abilities and worth.