How Cultural Activities At Schools Teach Children Lessons Beyond Culture

“Let’s make diyas today” declares the teacher out-loud with a huge cheer echoing amongst all the children dressed for Diwali celebrations. Not many days later, precious little ones all dine on the same mat relishing some sheerkhorma that is being served to the class after they hugged and greeted each other “Eid Mubarak”. Rahman painted his diyas and lit them at home that night along with his parents, while Aadhya’s mom was now trying to make her daughter’s new favourite sweet, sheerkhorma, for her friends. 

Children see the world the way it is meant to be. Undivided by any boundary and united in every aspect. Free from any biases, children cherish every festival and adorn every culture to their hearts content. For them, every reason to celebrate, is most welcome!

As a child’s first diverse learning environment, preschools shoulder the responsibility of simplifying the legends & lessons of every religion and culture. 

These when delivered innovatively through colourful, fun, displays, dramas, craft, dances, musical activities and other creative ways teach a child lessons beyond festivities. They teach morals and values such as goodness and empathy that draw light upon the similarities between us all. 

1. First and foremost, children model what they see, so the teacher's inclusion and acceptance of different ideas, customs, and traditions helps them learn to accept and respect all.

2. Classrooms can choose to display pictures or artwork on the wall that feature a variety of multicultural children. Posters, pictures, maps, and regalia of many kinds are essential in helping students develop a mental image thereby providing visual recognition of one another’s culture.

3. Dramatic plays with diversity dress up incorporate diversity; broadens their perspective about other’s feelings and instill a sense of empathy and respect.

Also, role plays and stories leave children with moral lessons. For e.g., a role play on Ramayana leaves the children with the lesson – “Good wins over evil.”

4. Visit to historic/cultural places such as museums with art and exhibits are a great way to learn about cultural heritage.

5. Incorporating music from a variety of cultures during festival celebrations, featuring different types of instruments demonstrates the importance of music to many different cultures

6. Discussing differences and similarities in cultures with your students openly, but focusing the similarities. In this way, children can make connections that "others" are more like us than different. 

7. Indianized celebration. Festivals can be celebrated by drawing posters, decorating the room, and preparing some of the foods. For e.g., lighting Diyas on Diwali, serving Devaiyaan on Eid, playing with Colors on Holi etc. This kind of activity enables student to actively participate in the cultural heritage of one another.

Fun, safe & not-so-spooky Halloween with children

 Halloween is just around the corner, and with children it is all about wearing costumes, carving pumpkins and candy treats. However, parents should take precautions to ensure that their little goblins and princesses have a positive experience of this fun tradition.

Consider a daytime or early evening Halloween activity

It’s good to participate in events that are scheduled earlier in the day so as to avoid any temper tantrums your child may throw due to disrupted routine or being overwhelmed. 

Read fictional books to introduce them to spooky aspects of Halloween 

Familiarizing children with Halloween elements and discussing how it is all pretend and for fun, prepares them to meet and greet fictional characters, spooky costumes/decorations. 

Keep it comfortable 

Children may have sensitivities to certain fabrics/textures. You can make necessary adjustments, making sure he feels comfortable. And if the child doesn’t want to put on a costume, go with carrying props. Try to use soft props, made of foam, if possible.

Accept and approach known people for treats 

Whether they’re going trick-or-treating with parents or friends, make sure they know to accept treats only from known people. 

Enforce the buddy system 

If you are allowing your child to go trick-or-treating with other children, encourage them to stay with their group all the time.

Don’t force it

 If your young child has no interest or gets scared of spooky decors/costumes, it might be best to find something else fun to do instead. Have them paint a pumpkin or some other craft and offer practice sharing by distributing treats.

Happy Halloween!