Nurturing a child’s cultural identity is foundational to supporting social-emotional learning and development. When cultural identities are nurtured, you’ll not only build trust and stronger relationships with children, but you’ll also ensure that they experience a sense of belonging in your classroom.
By incorporating activities aimed at supporting a child’s cultural identity, you’ll inspire the curiosity and collaboration needed so they can better relate to the experiences of others. These three activities will help children experience their culture and the culture of their classmates.
1. Reflect on self-identity with self-portraits.
This small-group activity will help children see and embrace their self-identity.
What you’ll need: Standup mirrors for each child; crayons (including skin color crayons); paper
What to do: During this activity, support children by encouraging them to observe their own reflection and ask questions about what they see. Ask them to look at their skin color and compare it to different tones of crayons. Which one best matches the color of their skin? You can also talk about the color of their eyes or hair, or the shapes of their facial features.
2. Show and tell.
This whole-class activity will help children share and celebrate their identity and learn about other children’s identities.
What you’ll need: Invite children to bring a few things from home that are especially important to them.
What to do: Encourage children to share the item they brought in and why it’s important to them. Ask questions and identify similarities and differences for each presentation and be sure to point out any similarities that you notice.
3. Music around the world.
This small-group, or whole-class, activity will help children experience music from different cultures.
What you’ll need: Music from a variety of countries and/or cultures
What to do: Play each piece of music and ask children what instruments they hear and how the music makes them feel. Also, encourage them to think about how the piece of music is different from music they typically listen to and how it’s the same. Invite children to sing and dance along to each piece of music.
Want to learn more about cultivating cultural identity in your classroom? Watch the full webinar below.