Central Idea: Learning about ourselves helps us understand and connect to ourselves and to others in the world.
“Intercultural dialogue is the best guarantee of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.”
What constitutes culture? Why do we need to know about various cultures?
Our young students of Grade 1 delved into their inquiry with enthusiasm and began with an exploration of their own cultures. During this journey they learnt about the elements of world cultures such as language, gestures used in greetings, symbols, dance, art, music, festivals, traditional dresses, religion and other aspects of culture. This led to comparisons between cultures. They identified some similarities in cultures and made connections such as cultural values that are passed from one generation to another through folk and traditional tales. They learnt how cultures differ and developed respect and appreciation for other cultures. With great pride they wore their traditional clothes for an International Food Party and shared their traditional food and drinks with each other. During the unit they came to know that cultures change and that many of the clothes we wear today and the foods we enjoy eating have been derived from other cultures.
Their field trip to Pinisi Science and Edutainment Park to savour the culture of the host country, Indonesia, was an enriching experience for them. They tried their hand at making traditional batik designs, playing the anklung and gamelan, and learning Indonesian dance and songs. It was a thrilling feeling for the first graders to ride their own mini becak, a traditional form of transport in Indonesia. The rich tapestry of Indonesian culture was surely woven in their minds as they viewed a live reenactment of a Sumatran tale, Malin Kundang.
The unit was wrapped up with a presentation by the students on an aspect of culture they found interesting and wanted to share with their peers. They presented this in myriad of ways and displayed impressive creativity. The presentation strategies included singing a traditional song, demonstrating a musical instrument, explaining a traditional recipe, performing a folk dance and displaying many other interesting elements of culture to a rapt audience.
In an increasingly intolerant world, exploring other perspectives and connecting with each other’s cultures leads to greater intercultural understanding and provides us with the tools to solve problems and promote world peace. It is something worth striving for as it builds strong community relationships between people from diverse backgrounds and enriches the lives of all the members of a community. By developing critical thinking skills, we become open-minded and come a step closer to being internationally-minded, caring, global citizens.
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”
― Gene Roddenberry
Contributed by Ms Nivedita
Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher
Culture is something that can be learned and shared