For example, a Chinese teacher may teach students to greet each other with a bow. French students may learn to “faire la bise” or greet each other with a kiss on each cheek. Children may learn that in some European countries students are taught to begin counting with the thumb instead of the pointer finger. Spanish students may hear about Quinceañera and how it is celebrated in some Latin American countries. There are also things you as a parent can do in your home to help your child develop a global perspective.
8 Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Global Perspective
- Have your child teach you the songs she/he is learning in language class.
- Talk to your child’s teacher or search online for games to play that are unique to the language and culture your child is studying.
- Have your child teach you how to appropriately greet someone in the language she/he is studying.
- Learn a lullaby in the second language and sing it together before going to bed.
- Go to the supermarket together and look for foods from the country your child is studying. Be adventurous! Try something you have never tried before. Thai food? Indian curry? When your child sees your willingness to try new foods, this fosters an attitude of openness and enthusiasm for the variety that makes our world so interesting.
- Look online for pictures of homes from the country your child is studying. Together, compare and contrast those homes with your home. Two wonderful resources you might check out at the library are Material World: A Global Portrait by Peter Menzel and A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray.
- Go to an art museum and look for works by artists your child has learned about in class.
- As a family, talk about supporting a child through one of the many excellent organizations such as Compassion International or World Vision, which allow you to connect with a child in a country that interests you. Correspondence will open avenues for conversation and communication about world events and how we are interconnected. When the disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, my fourth grade French class was currently supporting a Haitian child. Their immediate feeling was “What can we do to help?” and they felt personally involved because of this connection.