One thing is for certain, the world is becoming more and more globalised by the minute. The UK is more diverse than 10 years ago , rich in culture and various religions. As a nation we are proud of our of our diversity. As parents and teachers, it is crucial in today’s society that we teach our children the importance of understanding and appreciating different cultures. Every child is different, and that is why the appreciation of different cultures is so important. This can be a challenging task; particularly as many of us parents were not taught about the norms of Spanish culture or the Culture of Chinese food as just a few examples!
Although progress has been made in the classroom, with celebrations of religious festivals, religious studies and the increasing language skills classes in secondary education – there are a lot more things that we could be doing both inside and outside school to improve our children’s cultural awareness. There will always be the motherly worry that one day your child will grow up and want to move away to explore new cultures… but these skills will eventually make your children more prepared for their own futures in this big wide world of ours! Here are a few tips….
Different is good – “Mum, there is a new weird kid at school”. We need to teach our children to celebrate and not avoid people’s differences, that’s what makes them special and unique. Teach our children values from an early age urging them to go speak to the new international student, or to invite them around for tea. It is a challenging frightful thing to move from another country into a new school, and culture should be celebrated. Perhaps having more culture days within school where students present an aspect of their own culture so that everybody can understand and accept.
Throw a themed Party or Playdate! – Why not set up a playdate with your children and their friends to celebrate a particular culture? Get them to help bake and cook themed food, set up a few games to reflect different aspects of the culture. Something a little different to playing the Nintendo Wii or a trip to the local park. A themed play date gives you and your children the opportunity to explore a particular culture in a fun way!
Travel with your children. – Of course travelling is always going to be expensive, but exploring new cultures and places with children will likely increase their interest in exploring and understanding new cultures. For younger children Dora The Explorer is a great way to teach children about different cultures. We also cannot ignore the increasing amount of platforms designed to help explore the world from a computer screen. Google Maps street view is just a simple example of allowing your children to explore places around the world whilst educating them on monuments, the wonders of the world and traditions within various countries.
Learn some Lingo! – The truth is, England is extremely ignorant when it comes to learning new languages, mainly because we expect everybody to speak our native tongue. However, learning a language is not only important when it comes to visiting other countries, but also fun to learn! Teach your children new languages outside of class and perhaps tie this in with a trip or exchange student to help encourage learning. Trust us, it shall come in handy when your child becomes an adult.
Remember, teaching your children to learn about and appreciate a range of different cultures shall not only make them better equipped in terms of skills they will need for the future, but is also a fun way of inspiring your children outside of the classroom! Open up your mind and explore the big wide world of culture and diversity with your children.