Worldviews of Bilingual Children
Before I go back to talking about plans and strategies, I’d like to talk about one of the best side-effects of raising bilingual kids: they quickly become global citizens with an appreciation for, and understanding of, different ways of seeing the world.
My girl is very proud of where she’s from and she talks about Oaxaca all the time. We’re not sure if she actually remembers Oaxaca since she left before she turned three but either way it is obvious that being Oaxacan is a very important part of her identity.
Whenever she is pretending to drive a car or plane she will say that she is going to Mexico. She also will make up her own words for things and say “In Oaxaca we say ____”, it’s pretty adorable. She is not afraid to ask others, whether on the playground or on the bus, what language they speak or where they are from, and of course tell others that she speaks Spanish and English and that she wants to learn French. Living in a multicultural country like Canada, children grow up with a greater understanding of other cultures.
As I mentioned in my post about the benefits of bilingualism, being bilingual gives children more than one way to understand each word and often allows them to understand the world in more than one way.
I usually say that my daughter is “bi-cultural” because my wife is Mexican and I am Canadian, but when I think about it her environment includes influences from a number of different cultures.
Growing up in the diverse city of Toronto, I too was immersed in a multicultural environment and I am very thankful for the opportunities that that environment gave me.
We will be in Toronto for this week and then off to Ottawa and Montreal for a family vacation. I am very excited to show my wife and my daughter a different part of Canada, and all of the places that I remember from my childhood. I’m hoping that it will be an enriching experience that will help to form our daughter’s multicultural identity.
Resources for Raising Multicultural Kids
We have enjoyed two books that help little ones to understand that children all around the world are the same but different and have the same rights.
The first book Same, Same, but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw is a cute story of two young pen-pals in the United States and India who realize how they are the same but also how they are different. The book has great illustrations and repeats the same phrase “same, same but different”, which makes it easy to understand for young kids. The other book I Have the Right to Be A Child by Alain Serres explains the needs and rights of children all over the world.
I came across two blog posts by Ana Flores on Babble 20 Expert Tips on Raising a Globally Minded Child and 13 Resources to Teach Children About the World in which she asks other parent bloggers what their favourite resources and ideas are for raising multicultural kids. Have you tried any of these? Are there any resources or ideas that weren’t mentioned?
I’m excited to travel with my little one and in a few weeks you will be able to read about our experience on the other side of the country!