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How to expose kids to different global perspectives

How to expose kids to different global perspectives

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA), children as young as six months old notice race-based differences. By age 4, children in the US associate white people with wealth and higher status, and race-based discrimination is known to be widespread when children start elementary school.

Today's children are growing up in a small world. They interact with people from different cultures on a daily basis. Quality literature and technology expose them to diverse voices and instills the cultural awareness and empathy they need to join this global community. Priya Kumari, award-winning author of Leaf Talks Peace, along with Tripti Ahuja and Bhavik Rathod, founders of the worldwide learning community diy.org, offer advice on safe environments for children to explore new perspectives and cultures.

The world is changing, and Kumari asserts that a global perspective is no longer a luxury. "Being globally aware means understanding that all beings are interconnected. That sense of oneness prompts us to show compassion towards people and places beyond our boundaries. Children with this understanding will be effective collaborators. They will question and analyze problems with plural perspectives. Global awareness makes children culturally competent, which is essential for success in today's world."

Children's literature initiates global awareness by introducing diverse people and ideas

Priya Kumari remembers a childhood filled with happy hours holed up in her father's bookstore. The story of Panchatantra and Jataka taught her right and wrong. The tales of Lord Buddha and Lord Rama serving their people instilled a message of equality. When she left India and her father's bookstore, she kept those values close to her heart.

Shortly after relocating to the US, Kumari became a mother. "My children were my priority," she recalls. "I wanted them to be inclusive, compassionate towards all beings, and proud of their culture."

Kumari remembered the picture books that shaped her thinking as a child and longed to offer that wisdom to the next generation. "Books provide a window into other cultures," she says. "They introduce children to other people's perspectives and values. As authors and publishers, we have a huge responsibility. We provide material that develops our children's perspective, holistic worldview, and global awareness. "

In Kumari's opinion, discussing cultural awareness and building inclusion has to start early. The younger children are, the easier it is to internalize these values. "The best way to lay a foundation for global awareness is through fun and relatable topics such as foods, games, animals, music, and festivals," she suggests. "If you can afford to travel, by all means, travel. However, you have access to the entire world through quality literature and your computer."

Kumari wrote her best-selling picture book Leaf Talks Peace after her son asked about the meaning of friendship. She sat down with him in the garden and described the story of Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree. She explained how Buddha watched the sun, soil, water, leaves, time, and space work together to give that leaf life.

"That tree enabled me to describe friendship to my son," remarks Kumari. "When we cooperate and share perspectives, we create a beautiful world where people from all cultures, colors, genders, and ethnicities live in harmony with each other and nature."

That evening, Kumari started work on a picture book. Her words brought the concept of global harmony to life through the eyes of one leaf on the Bodhi tree. "I became a writer to promote global awareness and share my Indian culture through books," she recalls. "Written words are powerful. It is vital that these books are free of misrepresentation and misinformation. They are the basis for children's understanding of other people and perspectives. They allow readers the space to look into their own minds and examine their feelings. A good book gives readers the chance to grow and evolve."

Technology motivates global perspective as kids make friends and learn together

Tripti Ahuja and Bhavik Rathod are highly successful entrepreneurs and engineers, but before all else, they are parents to a six-year-old daughter. When schools closed during the global lockdown, they joined parents around the world and took an active role in education.

Rathod and Ahuja watched their daughter flourish as she learned online, and they realized technology could unlock global awareness and creativity for kids everywhere. Rather than building an ed-tech platform focused on school-based curriculum, they created a global community stimulating curiosity and innovation in children around the world.

Rathod and Ahuja contacted hundreds of parents and discovered they were not alone. Parents in every part of the world wanted their kids to become globally aware. The DIY team designed a ground-breaking social learning app where kids meet friends who share interests and hobbies worldwide. Together, they create interest-based projects, pick up new skills, and compete in contests. Rather than remaining passive consumers, kids use the content they watch on DIY to share perspectives and explore the world.

With DIYers from over 167 countries, the platform offers a ground-breaking opportunity for kids to collaborate and learn alongside a global community. All of this interacting, learning, and creating happens in a safe environment moderated by experts and mentors. "Kid safety is our utmost priority," Ahuja explains. "Parents receive notifications each time their children post on the app."

"Global perspective provides intrinsic motivation for growth," says Rathod. "We are the space where kids interact and make friends with others from different cultural backgrounds as they learn new skills, accomplish fun projects, and pick up inspiration for their next big projects."

DIY.org curates thousands of educational videos for free. Through the power of the internet, Rathod and Ahuja make these resources available in parts of the world where children cannot easily experience this type of education. "Especially during their formative years, kids need the chance to learn about the world and think outside the box," says Rathod. "It is crucial to give them space to explore things that pique their interest as they grow.

Parents and kids can access DIY's free courses online at diy.org or by downloading the free app at diy.org/download. For additional premium features, they can visit diy.org/register.

Raising children with a global perspective offers hope for the future. As Kumari concludes, "We must teach our children that we live in a shared world. Issues such as global warming, violence, and pollution are not limited to one area. They are global problems. When we expose children to a global perspective and incorporate it into our classrooms and homes, they become the gods of tomorrow. They will create a better world."

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