Thursday 24 April 2014

10 Ways of learning about other countries

I would like my children to know about more than the country and culture in which they are raised. 

There are so many ways of finding out about other lands. These are a few:

  • Visit. My younger children still talk about a day trip to Paris, two and half years ago, when they were just five and two. 
Whilst this is a wonderful way to explore another culture, it isn't practical for most of us, most of the time.
  • Read books. I've written a post about Around the World with Picture books. Other books that my children have enjoyed are the If you were me.. series. I'm discovering that our days of picture books are rapidly disappearing as chapter books are taking over. I don't have a list of early chapter books about different countries so any suggestions are welcome.

  • Maps. One of our most useful pieces of equipment is a world map which we stick to the wall with Velcro tabs. We try to look up every country that we hear about and often take the map off the wall to be examined more closely on the table.

  • Unit studies. We done unit studies of several different countries. Sri Lanka was a favourite. My go to resource for planning unit studies around the world is the blog Our cup of tea.

  • Cook around the globe. Food really adds to learning! The internet seems to have an endless supply of recipes! We also use the book: I want to be a chef around the world. 

  • Learn from friends. We live in a multicultural city and attend a multiethnic church so we are privileged to have friends from many different countries. These friends have told us about their cultures, cooked meals for us, taught us to cook their food and shown us their photographs. We've gone back to the map and it has all become so much more real.

  • Learn about missionaries. Our church supports people in various parts of the world. We like to learn about these people, find their homes on the map, see pictures of where they live, read about them in newsletters and meet them when they come to England. 

  • Parcel exchange. We were involved in a cultural exchange a couple of years ago. This provided a tangible link to other cultures. This is something that we found valuable. We loved the postcards, leaflets, key rings, recipes and other goodies that we received.
    Do be aware though that the postage costs can be high. My other caveat is that, of course, only richer countries tend to be represented.
  • Christmas shoe box appeals. These provide practical help for people in poorer countries. Yes, it is a small thing but does help children to understand that they are privileged. Children can be actively involved in collecting items for the boxes and investigating the countries to which they are going.

  • Sponsoring a child. This can be combined with finding out about the country involved. Children can be encouraged to pray for the child and be involved in finding gifts and cards. 
Over to you. Do add more ideas in the comments.

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1 comment:

  1. Great ideas - we are doing a focus on Geography next year, and I am saving this for future reference. Thanks!