Teaching your child to understand and respect diversity is particularly important in today’s multicultural world. We’re meeting and working with people from all corners of the globe thanks to the improved communication we now enjoy. Your child’s educational setting will play a big part in how well they learn about other cultures – this private prep school in London, for example, offers plenty of residential trips and extra-curricular activities to help expand young minds.
It’s fun once you begin – so take a look at these tips to help prepare your child for todays’ diverse world:
Take a globe or a world map – you can use a real one or a virtual one. Show your child where their country is so that they can begin to understand the concept of other countries and how large or small some of them are. Talk to them about the people who live in the other countries, mention that some of them speak different languages and then find some examples of people speaking in those languages online.
Together, find out about the religions and lifestyles in any countries which grab your child’s attention. Show them images of places of worship and discuss the sacred music that they share.
Talk to your child about special days in their culture. Whatever their special days are, compare them to special days in other cultures.
Some good places to start include the following:
Día de los Muertos, Mexico
Whilst America and Europe celebrate Halloween, in Mexico people celebrate the “Day of the Dead” and pay respect to those who have passed-away with costumes and a feast.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Thailand
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is Chiang Mai’s celebration of the Festival of Lights. The people of the city pay homage to Buddha and release thousands of lanterns.
Dev Deepawali, Varanasi, India
This Hindu festival takes place 15 days after Diwali on the banks of the Ganges. Offerings of lamps are left and people bathe in the holy waters.
Kwanzaa, United States
African-Americans honour their African heritage during Kwanzaa, The holiday is 7 days long and people enjoy traditional African food, music and dance as well as decorations in and around their homes.
One of the most important festivals in India, Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights where families gather together with gifts and feasts. It is celebrated in Indian communities across the world.
Discuss with your child how you might be considerate of other people’s beliefs and cultures. Talk about differences in customs and dress and how these things all add to the rich tapestry of life.
A child who understands cultural diversity early on will find that they will navigate life much more easily as they grow up.