(Family Features) Days spent in the classroom are often centered around language, reading, math, science and other traditional curriculum, but there’s another key subject students may learn about without even realizing it: themselves. While coming to understand one’s family background and culture may seem like a daunting task for school-aged children, it can actually be a simple (and fun) opportunity for discovery.
LaRayne Woster is the Native American Studies Lead and Cultural Specialist at St. Joseph’s Indian School, a small nonprofit Native American school making a difference in preserving the culture and heritage of its students. As a cultural specialist, Woster developed a unique project with her students, helping them discover who they are and where they came from.
By developing fun and informative activities like learning their creation story; learning traditional arts, crafts and dances; making a traditional meal; and understanding religious traditions, she challenged her students to connect with their ancestry.
While this activity focused on Native American children, Woster recommends parents and teachers use this exercise and share ideas to help any child connect with his or her own heritage, from Hispanic and African cultures to French, Irish and beyond. Schools like St. Joseph’s provide an environment ideal for students to make those connections as the school is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and families with a mission to educate mind, body, heart and spirit.
Consider these ways you can promote cultural connections.
Visit stjo.org to find more fun, student-friendly ways to discover and preserve the past.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family cooking)
Photo courtesy of St. Joseph’s Indian School (woman dressing child in traditional feathers)
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