Multicultural Education Practices in Malaysian Preschools with Multiethnic or Monoethnic Environment

Najeemah Mohd Yusof, Anna Christina Abdullah, Norlida Ahmad


In today’s increasingly diverse world, ethnicity has a dramatic impact on a growing child. The ‘melting pot’ concept has given children whether from majority or minority ethnic groups have contact with groups other than their own and must learn to live with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity affects social interaction among students of different ethnic groups. Social interaction among students of different ethnic groups has been a major focus of study in Malaysia in recent years. Schools in Malaysia have students from a variety of ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds. When students of a variety of backgrounds are put under one roof, there is a strong tendency to differentiate and polarize. One of the main causes for students to differentiate and polarize is due to the monoethnic environment. Preschools must begin a focused and concerted effort to provide for today’s children the skills, attitudes, and knowledge they will need to be successful in the pluralistic and interdependent world in which these children will live and work as adults. Among these competencies are the ability to be multilingual and the ability to be cross-culturally competent. A multicultural classroom, then, is one that features positive teacher expectations for all children, a learning environment that supports positive interracial contact, and a curriculum that is multicultural in content and varied in pedagogy. This article will discuss Multicultural Education Practices by teachers in Malaysian Preschools with a multiethnic or monoethnic environment. A study was conducted in 200 preschools in North Malaysia. The nature of multicultural education in this study is classified according to an instrument which is related to the children’s’ lives. The teachers were given a set of questionnaires and findings were analyzed quantitatively.


Multicultural Education; Preschool; Monoethnic; Multiethnic; Environment

Full Text:



Baldwin, S.C., Buchanan, A.M., & Rudisill, M.E. (2007). What teacher candidates learned about diversity, social justice, and themselves from service-learning experiences. Journal of Teacher Education, 58 (4), 315-327.

Banks, J. (1994). An introduction to multicultural education. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Bruch, P., Jehangir, R., Jacobs, W. & Ghere, D. (2004). Enabling access: Toward multicultural developmental curriculum. Journal of Developmental Education, 27, 12-19, 41.

Creaser, B. (1996). Staff development: dealing with diversity. In B. Creaser and E. Dau (Eds.). The Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood. Sydney: Harper Educational.

Glover, A. (1996). Children and bias. In B. Creaser and E. Dau (Eds.). The Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood. Sydney: Harper Educational

Derman-Sparks, L. (1989). Anti-bias curriculum: Tools for empowering young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Derman-Sparks, L. (1993). Revisiting multicultural education: What children need to live in a diverse society. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 22(1), 6-10.

Early Childhood Australia National Council, 2007, available at ; accessed on 10 October 2007

Gollnick, D., & Chinn, P. (1990). Multicultural education in a pluralistic society (3rd ed.). NewYork: Macmillan.

Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2000). Foundations – Early Childhood Education in a Diverse Society (2nd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Goodall, H., Jacubowicz, A., Martin, J., Mitchell, T., Randall, L. & Seneviratne, K. (1990). Racism, Cultural Pluralism and the Media. A Report to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, University of Technology, Sydney.

Hackman, H. (2005). Five essential components for social justice education. Equity and Excellence in Education, 38(2), 103-109.

Hakuta, K. (1986). Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism. New York: Basic Books.

Hohensee, J.B. & Derman-Sparks, L. (1992). Implementing an anti-bias curriculum in early childhood classrooms. ERIC Digest.

Lynch, E., & Hanson, M. (Eds.). (1998). Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with children and their families (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Milner, D. (1983). Children & Race, Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications.

Oakes, J., & Lipton, M. (2003). Teaching to change the world. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Palmer, G. (1990). Preschool children and race: an Australian study, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 15, (2), pp. 3-8.

Ramsey, P. & Myers, L. (1990). Salience of race in young children’s cognitive, affective and behavioral responses to social environments, Journal of Applied Behavioral Psychology, vol. 11, pp. 49-67.

Robinson, K. & Jones Diaz, C. (2006). Diversity and Difference in Early Childhood Education. Berks: Open University Press.

Sleeter, C. (2001). Preparing teachers for culturally diverse schools: Research and the overwhelming presence of whiteness. Journal of Teacher Education, 52(2), 94-106.

Stonehouse, A. (2002). NSW Curriculum Framework for Children’s Services. NSW Department of Community Services. Office of Childcare.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

International Journal of Multicultural and Multireligious Understanding (IJMMU) ISSN 2364-5369
Copyright © 2014-2018 IJMMU. All rights reserved.