Early exposure to various cultures encourages open-minded thinking and compassion in impressionable children. Here are five ways you can try to inculcate a better understanding of cultures outside of the classroom!
An easy step to take is to teach children about other cultures via the arts. Using different forms of art can be beneficial to a child’s learning. Visual arts, movies, music, and theater are all great ways to demonstrate cultural values and perspective.
In Singapore, the National Heritage Board owns and operates several museums and institutions that are a resourceful introduction to the various cultures of Singapore as well as historical events that have made Singapore so culturally diverse.
Naturally, children will be curious about the public holidays and festivals. Time your visits to the culture institutions with the corresponding holidays for a more holistic experience! That said, first hand experiences in new places will really help your children understand different cultures. They will get to see the way other people dress and live, and get the chance to see how different parts of the world look.
The differences in diet between cultures can be very dramatic and you can make meals an interesting way to learn about the various cultures. For example, serve food in traditional-style, such as nasi lemak in banana leaves – and explain the food origins. If your young one expresses interest in cooking, there is nothing more fun to learn about a culture than to whip up culturally diverse dishes for the family.
Singapore’s biggest cultural festivals are namely: Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa/Haji and Christmas. Bringing the kids to experience the cultures through places of worship, community centers as well as districts will fire up their curiosity about a culture unfamiliar to them. Pro tip, sign up for the educational activities organized by culture centres around the festivals, so that you, and your kids can learn together.