We recently participated in the Worldwide Culture Swap, where families (or schools) exchange cultural packages and learn about another culture. The letter and package was so thoughtful, I though I would share it with you here. Emma’s mom is the founder of Be Bilingual and has written a fabulous practical guide for multilingual families.
Opening our letter and packages from Finland!
I remember as a child I would be chastised to turn off the light and go to bed, but I would sneak in a flashlight, just to be able to finish the chapter of a thrilling adventure book. Books have the ability to transport us anywhere in the world. Multicultural books help us imagine what it would be like to experience life from a different perspective. Here are 6 reasons to teach our children using multicultural books. Continue reading
Often times, lessons to help kids learn about other countries are geared toward older children. This is a lesson plan to present a new country to kids as young as preschool- in a way that they will remember! They will explore and learn about other countries using their five senses: seeing, touching, listening, tasting, and smelling their way to discover a new place. I recently presented this lesson about Ethiopia in my son’s preschool class, and the kids loved it. It can be easily adapted to any country, with a bit of research.
A couple of months ago I was interviewed by MSN’s “Mom’s Homeroom” about incorporating geography lessons into our daily lives, and also teaching about culture at home. You can see the first video, plus silly pictures of the taping here. In the second video (click on the picture below) I give tips on how we integrate our sons’ birth cultures into our family life. You might notice me glaring over the camera at my 4 kids, who were precariously close to knocking over the lights while I was being interviewed:)- fortunately nothing was broken and they had a fun time playing with the microphones!
They also included a brief article I wrote of 5 ways we’re teaching about culture at home. Though written for adoptive families, any family can follow the tips to learn about world cultures at home!
What do you think? Time was short, and I may have missed important ways to incorporate culture at home. What are your favorite cultural activities with your kids?
Have you ever wondered how to host an exchange student? Here are some wonderful programs available that allow families to host a student from another country for 2 weeks to an academic year! By opening your homes, not only do you share your knowledge about your own country, traditions, food, celebrations- you also get to learn about another culture and language firsthand. Continue reading
Have you ever seen the decorative floor art called rangoli? Rangoli art from India, a folk art used during Hindu festivals to bring good luck and welcome the Hindu deities. Check out these beautiful google images and then try out this stunning, colorful project with your kids. It’s a beautiful, hands-on, collaborative art project that engages kids and teaches about other cultures! Continue reading
We are so lucky to have an amazing public library system where we live, with lots of interactive and educational programs for children. This week we attended an event to learn more about Diwali, the Festival of Lights in India that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. One of the activities that drew the attention of all of the kids was making easy Indian sweets (mithai) called Doodh Peda or Pala Kova. Not only can the kids make these popular Indian sweets themselves- so easy!- they are delicious, don’t require cooking, and are often served during Diwali (plus they are egg-free and gluten-free!). Continue reading
Batik is a traditional textile made by hand where artisans use wax to create a design, and then dye the cloth, which resists the vegetable dyes. Originally from Indonesia, batik has symbolic meanings in its colors and designs, and people use the craft to express their creativity and even spirituality. In this easy project, kids substitute hot wax for Elmer’s blue glue and convey their own creativity by choosing images that represent themselves, and colorful paint that reflect their personalities. Continue reading
If you would like to introduce your children to foreign films, I recommend “Like Stars on Earth” (Taare Zameen Par in Hindi). This heartwarming, Bollywood style film from India tells the story of 8-year-old Ishaan Awasthi’s (Darsheel Safary) struggles in school due to dyslexia, his parents’ frustration and attempts to discipline him, his journey to boarding school, and finally his fortunate encounter with incredible art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan). Continue reading
The Muslim holiday of Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, reading the Qur’an, and charity. Islam uses a lunar calendar (based on the moon), and Ramadan falls on the first new moon of the ninth month; historically, this is when the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammad. For one month, from dawn until dusk, people fast (refrain from eating and drinking) in order to develop self-discipline and increasing awareness and empathy for the poor. At the end of the month, families and friends celebrate “The Breaking of the Fast,” known as Eid-ul-Fitr. Families pray at the mosque, thank God for sending them the Qur’an, and have special parties with new clothes, gifts, and delicious food. Here are 3 lovely books that teach us about children and families celebrating Ramadan: Continue reading
When I first heard of the Worldwide Culture Swap- where schools or families can “trade” cultural packages with others from around the world- I was SO excited. What an amazing experience for the kids involved to be able to deliberately choose artifacts that represent their culture, and then exchange them with those that another child around the globe has specially picked out. I asked one of the site’s founders and organizers to help explain the process.
My name is Rachael from Worldwide Culture Swap – a completely free resource for schools and families who are interested in learning more about different cultures around the world.
Today’s wonderful guest post is written my friend and fellow teacher and adoptive mom Gina, who shares her adventures in nature, the arts, literature, and meaningful play with her toddler son Grady on her blog famiglia&seoul.
As an adoptive parent, I feel that one of my most important jobs is to help my son develop a deep connection and love for his native country. Even though we are living in the States, Korea is an important part of our family culture. I often wish that we had more time to explore the land and its people when we made our journey to meet out son. The week that we spent there went by so quickly, leaving little time to discover the customs and sights of this beautiful country. As my son grows, I hope to find different resources that will help paint a picture of where he got his start in life.
Since he is still so young, one of the easiest ways to help him begin to get a basic understanding of Korea’s customs and cultures is through stories. Continue reading
Photo credit: Creative Commons.
I recently watched a speech on-line by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who spoke at TEDGlobal in London in 2009 about “The Danger of a Single Story.” (please take 18 minutes to watch the inspiring talk here).
Ms. Adichie spoke about how impressionable people, especially children, are when hearing a story. The invaluable lesson is that, by only hearing a fraction of the truth (whether in the media, in school, or in popular culture), we are creating damaging misrepresentations. Continue reading
The Bogolan cloth from Mali used to be looked down upon, associated with rural, non-Islamic peasants. It has now been transformed into a symbol of national identity in Mali, even reaching mainstream fashion after influencing Parisian designers. Learn about the process, and then paint with real mud on a recycled, old t-shirt to recreate this traditional mud-dyed cloth from Mali. I also included an on-line, virtual mud cloth activity for the mud-averse.