The Importance of a Global Education and Our Inspiration
Apr 21, 2021
Our “Around the World in 60 Minutes” world schooling global educational program was created in the recent months. However, the inspiration behind the program started last year. And the inspiration came from Travel Plus Them followers and my children. Here is our journey and the learnings along the way.
Let's start with the Bigger Picture- How does global education align to values we teach our children?
A great article by Parents magazine Values to Teach Kids by Age 10 directly aligns to why global knowledge is so important and how it integrates with core life values. I will focus specifically on curiosity, respect, and empathy.
- Curiosity- Jana Mohr Lone, Ph.D., emphasized that “both you and your child can learn a lot from bringing curiosity to the table, as you can offer an outlook based on your life experience, while they can see things in a more open and imaginative way.” I often ask myself “how many ‘why’ questions did I receive today? As many parents know, curiosity is a natural philosophy to children. "Around the World in 60 Minutes" expands on that with knowledge from a global perspective for the children to want to learn more about the countries.
- Respect- Respect during conversations in the classroom and beyond can have larger implications in real world applications as a child grows. While all parents want their kids to carry certain values, but Dr. Mohr Lone notes that “it's also important for kids to learn how to respect those who see the world a little differently. There are a number of contrasting ways of seeing the world that all have very good reasons and are valuable," she says. Around the World in 60 Minutes names the world’s religions, various cultural festivals, and exposes children to different languages. These lessons and global facts are not always taught in school but can have a positive influence in growing respect and appreciation for the diversity of others.
- Empathy- As the article states- The ability for a child to understand and connect with the feelings of another person helps build the foundation for strong relationships in their lives.” As stated by Dr. Ford “children can see the power in their actions when they do something kind for another.” Empathy comes from curiosity and respect for others, embracing their uniqueness, and having the ability to connect with them based on who they are. The global insights gained in “Around the World” enable children to appreciate that not all of their friends eat the same food, celebrate the same festivals, etc. This global awareness has the potential to be the start of broader knowledge and experiences kids want to gain.
Rewind to last year
I am going to take you back to a time last March, when we all faced an unprecedented turn in our lives. Our health was at risk, our jobs were at risk, and schools went virtual (and some preschools just shut down). Many parents with preschool aged children may not have had a Zoom school option. Thus, we started our content search! Online classes, worksheets, fun/educational, you name it, we tried it all!
- My daughters, Shyla and Shriya, wanted to take geography, history, culture, and some fun arts/sports too. While reading and math are essentials, they had other interests focused on learning more about other people and the world.
- At the same time, I was starting to build Travel Plus Them- felt like it was not good timing with the world shut down…. People are not traveling! But, our mission was bigger and broader. With everything happening around the world and in the US, we needed to learn about each other to create a better tomorrow. Travel Plus Them was created to help families raise global citizens through travel and by bringing the world to your home.
- On our search for global content for kids- while some of it was good, it felt a bit short. In all of our world travels, we taught our children a little bit about the country before we went which evolved over time.
- Ages 2 and 1- The learning experience was different. At those age as we focus mainly on food, music, and how to say hello. If they can say hello in English and Tamil- they can say hello in Greek as well!
- Ages 5 and 4- A few years late, we discuss the capital city, the name of currency, famous festivals in that country, major religions, famous landmarks/natural wonders, foods, history behind the flag, etc.
- Thus in our search, we did not find one learning experience designed for children that included all this content in a fun and insightful way that fosters curiosity for more! That had my daughters thinking....
So fast forward to the recent months, how did the global challenge when the world shut down transform into an opportunity to educate children?
- My girls wanted to give back. They wanted to share all the things that they’ve learned with other children and they too wanted learn more about the world from others!
- When we posted "global education/world schooling" content on our blogs and social media, many followers stated that they too learned from the information. They started to introduce those learnings in their home and conducted the activities with their children. Their positive feedback and desire for more motivated us to do more!
- This became a concept of "Around the World"- initially creating just a teaching video that included the countries that my daughters have traveled to plus more places they want to visit. Initially it was going to only be 30 minutes. But, once we started to create the content for each of the countries… Shyla wanted to learn more, say more, and it became an amazing learning experience for her as well. And thus, it became a 60 minute learning experience traveling across continents covering 25 countries. But- we didn't stop there.
Behind The Scenes- The Creation of "Around the World in 60 Minutes"
Part 1- Where did we find all the information?
- Compared to how we researched for information about the world 20+ years ago (e.g pre-Google days, encyclopedias in libraries, etc.), it is quite easy to find this information. We conducted online research, ensured that the information was consistent across different websites, and spoke to people we know from that country to gain a different perspective as well.
- While every country has so many different festivals, foods, and famous places, we specifically chose one of the main things to highlight and accuracy of the content is important! Here is a great resource for global information for Kids. National Geographic Kids
Part 2- Shyla wanted everyone to connect to the country and to the kids experiencing this information beyond facts “on paper.”
- We came up with the idea to include music before and after the country since music is a universal connector. In addition, we introduced the spinning globe since it is important for children to know where the country is located in the world.
- Shyla also wanted to include pictures from the country of her visiting there and some famous sites.
- For all the countries that Shyla has visited, she shared her personal experience of what she loves the most about the country. This was her desire to connect with all the other kids by sharing what she loved.
- In addition- Each of these countries has unique clothing and/or colors on their country flag. Hence, Shyla decided to change her clothing for each country to connect to their culture (e.g sports attire, festive clothing, etc). We did have some outfits from around the world and for the countries we didn’t, she wore one of the colors from the country flag.
Part 3- Gaining knowledge is beyond just the learning from a video. There are multiple ways to reinforce the learning experience.
- In a written format. Even as adults, writing things down helps us remember! We felt that one of the ways to reinforce the learning for each continent was to include some aspects of questions. This also creates a feeling of school- with a worksheet and a fun craft project.
- My daughters always like doing worksheets after they watch videos. Since it is a lot of content to remember, they wanted to create a question and answer worksheet that would help reinforce all the learnings that have been gained from watching the video. And that’s the around the world workbook.
- And, finally… The Passport Book. My daughters love to look at their passports, they love to look at the country stamps to remember all the places they have visited. But when they talk to some of her friends at school about their travels, they realize that not everyone even knows what a passport looks like. And thus came the creation of the passport book. My daughters love arts and crafts- cutting, pasting, and creating a book. We thought the passport book would be a great addition to the experience to bring all the virtual travel to life with the country level stamps.
- The ongoing role as parents/educators- Ensuring these learnings go beyond a lesson. Leverage the “Around the World” program as a starting point for kids to learn about various countries across continents to spark their interest for more. In this blog, I capture the “global approach” as a way to reinforce and evolve the experiences to your home in natural way as part of your frequent routine.
What made this creation so special to us? (and hopefully it will be to you!)
- My children really like learning from other children. They search YouTube for videos made by children teaching them all different things.
- While there are many forms of global content from major children’s stations (National Geographic, etc.), this program is a unique offering since it is taught by a child for a child.
- Shyla’s teachings are from some of her life experiences and facts she learned- she is sharing those insights with other children. Shyla’s inspiration is for kids to be excited to learn about the world, appreciate diversity, and be on their journey to becoming a global citizen! She wanted to share all her insights about the world and learn from other too.
I wanted to say thank you for being a part of the Travel Plus Them family. As I previously stated, my biggest inspiration comes from all of you- our subscribers and customers. And of course, my daughters. Thank you for sharing your insights which helped us create a program for your children. Click to learn more about Around the World in 60 Minutes.