"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
What is your child's story?
Art and storytelling transcend time and unite all of humanity. The power of a story can pierce a heart with conviction, soothe an aching soul, provide newfound knowledge and understanding, and can withstand cultural, generational, and personal differences. Similarly, art provides an opportunity for personal expression, can evoke emotion, and can also tell a story. Both mediums of expression extend beyond generations and cultures.
As our world becomes increasingly more global and children increasingly more cross-cultural, new challenges are being discovered: a struggle for cross-cultural youth to define their identity, to live life without feeling rooted in one particular culture/homeland, and to feel a sense of belonging.
Ruth Ven Reken, Co-founder of Families in Global Transition, defines Cross Cultural Kids (CCKs) as: a person who has lived in—or meaningfully interacted with—two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during developmental years. When considering the US Census data that reveal a minority-majority youth population in America by 2020 and the demographic populations that would be considered cross cultural: multiracial and/or multicultural, children of immigrants and refugees, Third Culture Kids (TCKs), international adoptees, missionary and military kids, and children of minorities, we can conclude that the majority of our youth in America are CCKs.
This curriculum is in response to these findings. Our objective is to create an interdisciplinary 6-week unit that will use ELA, H/SS, and Visual Arts as a vehicle for increasing empathy, improving self-identity, and enhancing cultural understanding.
What Can My Child Expect From This Program?
Explore Culture Through Literature
We will be developing a list of multicultural children's books that will be incorporated into the curricula and additional books as resources for teachers. We will share literature that helps children to make connections to their lives and to areas of study, provides a clear structure or pattern to storytelling, and that challenges them to be introspective and expressive.
Share Their Unique Story
Each individual story is unique. This curricula will challenge children to explore and share their life story. What are the chapters that can outline their life? Who have been the main characters in their life? What settings have they been exposed to? What conflicts have they worked through?
In addition to sharing their own story the curricula will also ask: What if that happened to me? Whether we are exploring history, literature, or another child's story, our goal is to increase empathy in order to develop stronger leaders and global citizens.
Through literature and community-building activities, children will be able to create connections. They will be able to connect with characters in a book, authors' artistic processes, and peers who are participating in the program alongside them.
The connections they make can bring a greater sense of community and an increased sense of belonging. In addition, through acknowledging the importance of these connections, they will produce a final product that will take this characteristic into account.