The first seven years of childhood development are the most critical, and set so many things in motion for the future. However, development extends far beyond literacy and motor skills. Early cognitive strides include some pretty deep revelations like diversity recognition and cultural acceptance.
This year, Kindermusik partnered with Bilingual Birdies, a foreign language music and movement program, to offer classes in studios (and now virtually!) across the globe. It’s amazing to see how quickly children latch onto a second language and begin to process—even as toddlers— that the world is so much bigger than their immediate environments.
We encourage you to check out these fun-filled classes (kiddos are crazy about the puppets)! In the meantime, let’s talk about how we can jumpstart those social-emotional skills and help our little ones celebrate diversity at home.
Recognize the Shift toward Bilingualism
Both the 2020 Super Bowl and the Oscars were proof that the future is bilingual. The Super Bowl halftime performance resulted in mixed feelings among viewers, which may have overshadowed that the majority of the show was in Spanish. At the Oscars, the winning film for best picture was entirely in Korean.
In fact, in the next 25 years, the United States will be a “majority-minority” country, fueling the need to know more than one language to compete in a global job market. Who will be the newbies in that job market? Our children.
Four Easy Ways to Explore Diversity with Children
Now is the time to embrace all the many ways our world is melding together while highlighting the beauty of cultural differences.
Here are four simple activities you can do with little ones to boost their understanding of diversity:
- Make a new ethnic dish or get takeout from a restaurant (better yet, visit one as they reopen and it’s safe for your family). Seek out different multicultural cuisines that your kiddos haven’t tried. Before you go, consider checking out a virtual book from the library to read with your children about the country of origin.
- Regularly play music in another language. You can incorporate it into your everyday playlists and even add bilingual lullabies to your nighttime routines.
- Expose young children to pictures, videos, and sounds of various cultures around the world.
- In the future, plan to attend multicultural events in your community, which may spark friendships with bilingual families. When children interact with people who communicate in another language, you’d be surprised how quickly they pick up on the vocabulary!
These efforts just require a little intention. Your kiddos will be excited to try and experience new things!
How Kindermusik is Supporting Bilingualism
If you’re ready to go even further, check out Kindermusik’s partnership with Bilingual Birdies™! Educators across the US and Canada (and, soon, more countries) are starting music and movement classes in Spanish, French, and Mandarin for children ages 2 through 6.
Search for a class and look for the Bilingual Birdies logo to find out if a virtual class is in the works or if in-person classes are resuming in your area. If the studio in your area isn’t yet offering Bilingual Birdies, let them know you’re interested!
When it comes to teaching your children about different cultures, you can’t start too early. Prepare them for the world ahead, celebrate diversity, watch their revelations, and have fun doing it!
This post was written by Sarah Farzam, Founder and CEO of Bilingual Birdies. To search for a Kindermusik Bilingual Birdies class, go to our class finder, type in your zip code, and look for the Bilingual Birdies logo. More virtual and in-class options are becoming available every day!