Ask Dr. Jean: Appreciating other cultures


(Arti Freeman) #1

Dear Dr. Jean,

My family celebrates Christmas and my kids have participated in and get excited about our family Christmas traditions. It is important to me that my children are aware of and appreciate the significant celebrations that their friends celebrate. How do I support my child’s understanding of other cultures particularly if we don’t have friends that we could ask?

Thank you.

Anonymous (Parent)

(Dr. Jean Clinton) #2

Your question highlights a wonderful reality of the Canadian landscape, multiculturalism. We had the great fortune when my five kids were young of attending a school that celebrated ALL the traditions of others throughout the year. They also organized a “CARAVAN” where each child chose the culture they wanted to research or be and then brought in a costume, food, music and tradition and the whole class saw each other and parents visited for the day.

Any school could easily look into doing this kind of activity. There is also the wonderful resource of the library where books and activities can tangibly be found to engage in as a family, rather than just searching on the internet. If you are in a big city, or near one you can also visit the various sections of the city associated with that culture.

What is important and can happen around the family dinner table, is that we talk about diversity and acceptance of difference. So, watch TV with them (your child) on shows that speak about other parts of the world and ask them “Wow what would it be like to be a child there I wonder” Fostering their sense of wonder and curiosity about others is at the heart of tolerance, acceptance and embracing other.

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