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Why We Learn About Other Cultures

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

By Melissa De Los Santos

Every spring, Arborland toddler, primary and elementary students enjoy a day of merrymaking and learning — all in the name of international cultures. The event, called International Culture Day or ICD, is the cherry on top of a year-long appreciation of the continent they have been studying. The students have fun because they get to wear amazing costumes, learn new ways to express themselves, and try delicious food. Other than that, what else do children get from ICD? Why is it important to learn about other cultures?

Strengthens understanding

Learning about different cultures, like customs and traditions, help us understand why some people do things differently from us. The children learn why a certain group of people wear certain types of clothes, or how they say hello a little bit differently from the way we do it. Understanding these variations help children get rid of the initial fear of the “other” and open themselves up to being more perceptive of the things that make us alike.

Better communication

Once there is understanding of another’s perspective, it will be much easier to communicate with people from cultures other than ours. A lot of problems arise from assumptions about the “other” without really understanding their point of view. Once children (everyone, for that matter) are exposed to different cultures, their knowledge will guide them to interact more effectively with other people.

As Maria Montessori said, “Establishing lasting peace is the work of education.” By giving children the opportunity to learn and understand the different ways other people live, we are giving them the tools to create a better, more peaceful, world.

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