Our world is constantly changing and therefore we need to teach our kids how to operate in a global economy. Foreign language, geography, and knowledge of landmarks and cultures around the world are extremely important to conduct ourselves as educated adults in even casual conversation.
We want our kids, our future, to not shy away from such topics because they are insecure about their scope of knowledge in these areas. Schools do teach foreign language and geography however, foreign language is taught as late as 5th grade or even middle school and geography is only a small portion of social studies, not its own course like it is throughout the rest of the world. By this point in time kids are not all that enthusiastic about language or geography.
I believe the key is to feed into their natural curiosity at an early age through fun activities, stories, and games. Travel is also an amazing way to do this however, not always possible for the average family. Time and money are two large factors that make international travel for families an unlikely option.
This means a global education becomes the responsibility of the parent or guardian. And to encourage these interests in the early years is best. Simply telling fun facts about another country’s way of life can be enough to peak a child’s interest. For example, just hearing about how in Australia people drive on the other side of the road can be enough to spark a curiosity in a child and make them want to hear more. Starting theme nights in your own home like Italian night, can get kids excited and on the path of wanted to learn more in these areas.
There are also so many great products out there that parents can weave into a home learning program or after-school program that seems more like fun than school.
For example, Little Passports; a subscription pack that mails fun international activities pertaining to a particular country to your home.
Another company, KiwiCo, has all sorts of culturally educational activities for kids of varying ages.
Or check out the book series I created for kids ages 4-9 called, Little James’ Big Adventures. In each book, Little James uses his magic snow globe to take him and his younger sister Susie to a different country where they visit major landmarks and cities, taste new foods and learn some foreign languages.
On the note of foreign language, there is duo lingo! They have so many fun videos, crafts, and activities all geared towards children.
Ultimately it is up to us to cultivate and encourage our kid’s global education but luckily, we live in a time where there are many tools and products available that can make it fun, affordable, and simple.
Ciao for now!