samendoza
Tuesday 13th , 2015
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2021 I’m not going to lie, when I moved out to California from the Mid-West, the big change (other than weather) was how many different cultures lived in this area. It was very much a culture shock that not all my neighbors looked like me, or that I could be out places without hearing anyone speak English. It was refreshing and welcomed with open arms, but did catch me off guard. Los Angeles is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States and it does not shy away from its diversity but rather shows a great deal of pride. For once, my family is not the only interracial family in the neighborhood. For once, I wasn’t just hearing about a different culture from my own. I was getting to see new traditions and people first hand, which is why we knew we wanted to start our family here. What better place to raise a child who is globally aware than a place that is globally integrated.

“A Global Child,” now what is that? It is a child who is aware that there are people different from them, people outside of their lives who look, speak and live differently. That doesn’t make us better or wrong it just makes us all different and we should learn more about our similarities and differences. Here are a couple tips on raising a global child in our melting pot of a city.

1.    Provide a solid grounding in your home culture.
To help your child discover a variety of cultures, first your child must know what their own culture or heritage. For my family that means speaking both English and Spanish, eating a lot of  Southern comfort foods and food from Los Mochis, CA, reading a lot of books from our cultures, and spending lots of time outside. Maybe this sounds very similar to you and your family, but not everyone is the same. It is supposed to be unique to every family, so sit down and think what is important to you about your culture and what do you want your child to have a strong hold on?

2.    Encourage the development of soft skills critical to cross-cultural competence.
2022 The skills needed to achieve global awareness are skills all children should learn from their parents.  These skills include patience, and the ability to properly assess a situation before acting. This can be very useful in a modern world, with many different cultures and traditions.  Other traits that are crucial to having a global mindset are a deep curiosity and the ability to question everything - accepting things as they are is an antiquated practice that will hold you back from your future and from the future of an international economy.  The ability to take risks and be independent can lead to self-exploration and awareness.”(Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, Raising Global Children)

3.    Make learning a second language a priority.
It is not taboo but common to teach children a second or even third language. Luckily in Los Angeles there are many opportunities from our Kidspace Bebe Y Yo class to full immersion schools to expose children to other languages. For babies it helps their brains and for older kids it allows them to start down a path of success by enhancing math and reading skills as well as broadens options for higher education and careers.

4.    Travel with your children as a fun yet educational way to broaden their minds.
2023 Being able to travel to far off places was never one of those things I got to do as a child because money did not allow it. However, I never felt like I was missing out due to the fact that we went to museums and festivals all the time.  The Japanese Festival, going to Native American pow wows and Mardi Gras hold some of my favorite childhood memories. The sheer number and diversity of festivals in Los Angeles is astonishing and recommend taking a look. Now if you can, I recommend traveling with your kids to expose them to a variety of cultures. If that means internationally great, but there are also a variety of cultures here in the United States.

Want a great way to expose your child to other cultures this weekend? Kidspace will be celebrating the message Martin Luther King Jr. left behind by celebrating equality and diversity on our Cultural Diversity Day on Monday January 19, 2015.

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Samantha Mendoza, Outdoor Education Specialist, has been with Kidspace since 2011. Her previous experience includes teaching at the Los Angeles Zoo and St. Louis Zoo.