An expert from Iceland: in kindergartens you can organize topic days
Nowadays it is important to teach children to only about their own culture, but also to understand other cultures – to find the similar and different things in them. The kindergartens from Latvia, Iceland and Norway that are involved in the NordPlus project “Responsible Lifestyle” pay special attention to this. Hildur Helga Saevarsdottir – and expert from a kindergarten in Iceland – says: “It is nice to see the differences in culture and it is important to actually feel them. There are things that unite us, and then there are things that don’t. There are things that are similar for Iceland and Norway and there are things that are similar for Norway and Latvia.”
In Norway and Latvia the private pre-schools work on the same basis, but in Iceland there is the newest kindergarten, that functions a bit differently. At the same time Iceland also has many things, that are similar to other countries.
Culturally the bond in between Norway and Iceland is stronger – both in terms of the structure of the country and in language. Without a doubt, it is also excellent to experience respect and friendship in between Latvia and Norway as well.
The observations of the expert show that in Norway and Iceland people are more open and that is a characteristic of the scandinavian culture, that just doesn’t apply to Latvians. People in Latvia are quieter and more balanced, which again is good for the children. Hildur Helga Saevarsdottir has noticed that Latvians are more closed off in all types of relationships. She states that in Norway and Iceland the employees talk more, state their opinion and plans more than in Latvia.
In Norway and Iceland the cultural differences can be felt more during day to day activities, because there are employees and kids from different cultures in every class. In Latvia we don’t have that many cultures, but there are many opportunities, how to learn about them.
An excellent way, hot to demonstrate different cultures to the kids, is making theme days. For example, by encouraging kids to prepare materials and a story about a certain country. And that doesn’t mean long essays – this can be done quite creatively. Did you know that the braille alphabet was created in France? It can take a bit of patience, but children can prepare something in the braille and then experience, how it is to read in it. There are other ways how to experience culture as well – encourage children to cook traditional foods with their parents, listen to traditional music of a certain country etc.