No matter how little your child is, you have big dreams for their future. So do we. At the heart of it all is making sure they grow up to be happy, show kindness to others, and make the world a better place.
Children of all ages are able to learn how to practice empathy, compassion, and understanding. And everything they do—from reading books and making art to even having lunch—can be experienced through an inclusive lens.
Browse through this page to learn how we approach educating early learners on the fundamentals of acceptance, how we celebrate differences in our classrooms, and how we honor diversity in our community. You’ll also find resources and ideas for practicing inclusion and compassion at home.
Bring inclusion home.
Teaching empathy, compassion and understanding to kids is much easier than you think! In fact, you may be doing a lot of it already. Click through the tabs below to get more ideas on how to bring these important lessons home!
It’s never too early to learn about understanding and inclusion!
Babies begin to notice physical differences in others by three months of age. So, take this early opportunity to start small. The lessons they learn now will build on new ones as your child grows, helping them develop a foundation for empathy, compassion, and understanding.
Introduce diverse experiences. Read books that show different cultures, identities, and characters than those in your own home, tune the radio to new music genres, and share little tastes of food with a wide variety of flavors from different cuisines. These small experiences build on each other, creating new thought patterns that help your child see differences as attributes.
Point out “same” and “different”. Bring your baby’s attention to things they can see that are different and the same about themselves and yourself! Pointing to and naming parts of your body that are the same (i.e., your nose, my nose) or describing the qualities that are different (i.e., small hands, big hands), can help your child learn to appreciate and accept the ways we are alike and unique.
Name feelings in themselves and others. When your child’s expressing big feelings, give them a name (i.e., “I see that loud noise made you feel scared”) so you can help them notice that feeling in others (i.e., “Your friend feels scared right now. Remember when you felt scared?”). When you create opportunities for empathy and understanding, you can help interrupt the development of biases before they start.
Expand your child’s point of view (in big and small ways).
Now that you’ve planted the seeds of acceptance with your child (check out our Babies and Toddlers tab for more info), they're ready to practice looking at everyday moments from other points of view.
Exposing your child to new experiences lays the foundation for empathy and compassion. Then, you can take the learning even further by talking with your kids about these experiences and relating them to the teachable moments that arise in your daily lives.
Explore activities outside your neighborhood, like music class or gymnastics practice where you’ll broaden your family’s potential for meeting new groups of people, making fresh connections, and building diverse friendships.
Seek out community events that celebrate cultures, holidays, and observances that are different from yours. Look to your local library for ideas—sometimes they also have free resources and events.
Point out stereotypes and biases when you hear them in stories or see them in books (for example, letting your child know they can be anything they want or have any occupation).
Practice being upstanders together, and role-play things you can do or say when someone isn’t being treated respectfully.
Don’t forget to focus on feelings that tie back to empathy and compassion! For example, “How did you feel when you saw that your friend was sad?”
Involve older children in conversations about fairness and justice.
School-age kids are all about flexing their independence and expressing their individuality. You can open your elementary-schooler's mind by encouraging them to reflect on where they see things that are unfair or unjust to help them better understand other people, perspectives, and cultures.
Talking about fairness and justice is a hot topic at this age (which is why you might hear “That’s not fair” more often)! That makes these concepts easy for them to relate to.
Define the difference between equality and equity. To put it simply: Equality is when everyone gets the same thing. Equity is when everyone gets what they need to be successful. Challenge your child to look for moments or places when they notice equity and equality in the world. Great places to start are handicapped parking spaces, over-sized bathroom stalls, Braille in elevators, and inclusive swings at the park.
Go deeper on spotting unfairness. Everyday moments present opportunities to notice and reflect on things that are unfair. For example, if you see someone who isn’t being included in playtime on the playground (or even a character in a book), take a moment to ask ‘does it feel fair that they weren’t included.’ You can even extend the conversation to help your child practice empathy by talking about how your child can help others feel included in the moment and in the future.
Keep the conversation going as things come up in the news or in your community—your child’s opinions and ideas might surprise you!
Our classrooms and centers are safe, supportive learning environments.
Respecting all kinds of families, and fostering a safe, welcoming community is foundational to who we are. In big cities and small towns, families come to us from every walk of life. When you join us, we’re committed to valuing the experiences and traditions you bring with you and honoring them within our community. We do this by:
Using inclusive classroom materials that reflect diverse identities.
Educating children to help them recognize and speak out against unfairness.
Providing support and other accommodations for children with varying needs and abilities.
Learning never stops for our teachers, either. Get a glimpse of their continuing education journey. Culturally Responsive Teaching leads to deeper, more meaningful connections with your child!
KinderCare is a place that welcomes families of all different backgrounds, means, and structures. We strive to create a place where every child can thrive and feel confident in who they are.
Doing what’s right for our employees and our community.
Kids aren’t the only ones learning at KinderCare! Education is a lifelong journey, and we are committed to learning about and creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces for all of our employees. In addition to leaning in and listening to our employees, as well as honoring their experiences, we’re working on taking meaningful steps forward in our journey in ways that benefit our students, families, employees, and the communities where we work and live.
“It’s our responsibility to challenge ourselves to do the work and nurture a diverse and inclusive environment, one where our employees and the children and families we serve are seen, heard, and valued.”
–KinderCare Education Chairman and CEO Tom Wyatt.
Here are a few things we’re doing right now:
Giving our employees space to be heard and opportunities to learn with employee resource groups and training.
Working with experts in the DEI field to help us identify areas for improvement and define a way forward.
Partnering with underrepresented groups within our company and assigning a leadership caucus to represent interests within our business.
Supporting local communities through partnerships that place importance on education equity, early childhood literacy, whole-child health, and more.
Assisting families of all kinds with child care through benefits programs and subsidies that can help offset the cost of care.
When we all work together, we get closer to creating an inclusive community for all.
Celebrating our commonalities and differences
At KinderCare we welcome opportunities to build understanding and knowledge of people around the globe, and in our own communities. In addition to celebrating traditional American holidays, like Christmas and New Year's Day, we also recognize heritage months throughout the year to build stronger connections that present opportunities to practice empathy, compassion and inclusion. See below on how to bring some of these learnings home all year long!
During the winter months, we welcome the new year while honoring our heritage, and dreaming big.
Continuing our commitment to listening and learning, our KinderCare family shows how we honor each other all year long.