Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:27 am

The classroom, with a mix of cultures and religions, is often the first place children interact with people who are different to themselves.

It is this engagement in the cultural melting pot that prepares them for the diversity of the real world

While tolerance plays an important part in ensuring understanding among peers who are different, often there is a common thread cross cultures which should be explored. 
Firstly culture is different to religion in that it focuses on tradition, an amalgamation of everything that exists in society.

Culture is how you act, and religion is what you believe

Whereas religion is a personal belief system, easily defined, culture is how you act, and religion is what you believe.

Across the board these differences are ironically far smaller than we imagine

If one focuses on literature, relationships and even childrenâ??s needs from their parents, these basic ideologies are very similar. Even in religion while there are core differences the common thread of respecting one’s neighbour is very apparent.

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Ultimately this is what embracing multiple cultures at a school level highlights.

Multicultural education is more than celebrating Heritage Day or reading the latest biography of Nelson Mandela

It is an educational movement built on basic South African values such as democracy, freedom, justice and respect. It is a set of strategies aimed to address the diverse challenges experienced by the unique South African demographic. And it is those first steps to shifting perception about the racial divide.

Embracing different cultures at school allows the school to:

•    Create a safe, accepting and successful learning environment for all
•    Increase awareness of global issues
•    Strengthen cultural consciousness
•    Strengthen intercultural awareness
•    Teach students that there are multiple historical perspectives
•    Encourage critical thinking
•    Prevents prejudice and discrimination
Shelley Arenson from Crawford Preparatory Sandton, elaborates on exactly what the school is doing in terms of acknowledging differences in value systems across cultures and religions.
â??Our aim is to build a school climate that is definitive about a distinct set of values. A set of universally acceptable values, which are not bound by a particular religion or a specific culture. A great deal of thought has been given to the values we wish to promote. 
The core values endorse an ethos that supports the pupil as a reflective learner and in turn, fosters quality learning and teaching.  They form the nucleus for the holistic development of the child; socially, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and morally.â?
Ultimately the world in which children will grow up is changing. Globalization is here to stay, therefore preparing young children for multicultural success is an important part of the curriculum.