teaching to learn, means learning to teach

Posts tagged ‘cultural awareness’

After all the ‘nails down a blackboard’ sensations, it was worth it :)

This last week has seen a big push to start our ‘end of year’ gifts for families. Photos taken, frames made, collecting pieces to use in the kids art. Which means that I keep forgetting to take photos to share with you. Ooops.

During the year I made a mixed CD of songs for the kids, including their favourite Justin Bieber song. In fact, the reason I made it in the first place, was because there were often spontaneous outbursts of his ‘Baby’ song 🙂 Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm to get the CD from our room to the room we were all in at night, one of my girls fell and broke it. She’s been asking for days if I could replace it, but I knew I wanted to pick songs that better reflected the kids interests and kept them more engaged as well as extending their language and social skills. So that’s what I did. a new collection of top 40 songs that would bring my class together.


As I sat at home, sweating over the lyrics and content, trying to justify to myself the validity of making this mix, versus the bias I hold against this genre of music, all I could hope for was that my awareness of the kids, their families and their lifestyles would mean that this was the ‘right’ mix for them. My kids have shown diverse musical tastes from a young age. Each one responding to a different genre by the age of 1 1/2 that seems to reflect their current characters 🙂 In fact my 4 yo hates listening to what I term ‘kindy music’!

Today was the big day. Justin Biebers ‘Baby’ made it back into my kindy room. As soon as it started playing the dancers of my group rushed over and started their butts a-waggling and their voices singing! We had girls doing some very fancy stuff, boys showing off their hip hop moves and even a couple of guys who managed a sort-of waltz to it! As the next song came on, they asked for ‘Never say Never’, which had followed it on the previous CD but wasn’t included on this one. I was quickly forgiven though, as more top 40 tunes worked their magic in connecting a group of children with similar likes, engaging and responding to music with their whole bodies and language.

I couldn’t help but smile. In fact I believe I was grinning. *This* is what I love about connecting with my kindy kids 😉


I went on holidays for 2 weeks and it was a fantastic break. I know that the girls in my room worked extra hard to share their knowledge of our kids whilst I was away. It’s hard for anyone to walk into a room and truly understand the dynamics of it. But they survived. 🙂 Coming back, I was greeted with hugs and excitement. It really is awesome to feel that connection with the kids, to feel like *I* belong. All those elements of EYLF that we’ve been working on, coming full circle to include us!

I also got to come back on Halloween – which I love! Any excuse to dress up! I’d been on holidays for Diwali,  so wanted to do something different for this dress up day.

I stayed up making paper flowers, a skill which will come in handy for Remembrance Day, and checked out the sugar skull faces from Mexico. Normally on Dress up days, I face paint the kids in all manner of superhero, fairy, animal inspired wonder. But on the 31st I had heaps of requests for sugar skulls 🙂 I felt it was a wonderful direction for my class to take, and they all looked superb as they ran around.

Sharing in the many cultures of the families at my centre just became all-that-more real to me, because I was able to bring a part of my life to them. 🙂




Now it’s time to say goodbye…

Our little chickens have been through quite a lot this year. Surviving a night without their heat lamp on, one ‘prematurely hatched’ by a curious toddler and all the manhandling that comes about from growing up with 80 kids around you! Last time you heard about them, they looked like this.

We each took joy in watching them ‘peep’ and finally hatch. Interestingly, each chick I saw erupted into the world in their own way. Gently tapping their way out, quick exits and entries, slow and deliberate movements and the one I missed but loved hearing the story recounted about – the one who cracked their egg completely around the middle and pushed both sides out like a superhero escaping an avalanche!

I did however catch this little one confusedly making it’s way out, spine first.

Last year we had 8 yellow chicks and 2 black ones. This year we have 6 black chicks and 3 yellow (although if you count our premature hatchling, that could have made 4)

AS the chicks have gotten bigger and braver, so have the kids. The more they handle them, the more they learn to accept the skittish movements or flutters of wings whilst balancing.

We’ve even let them start to explore our bodies as we’ve learnt to sit still and quiet.

Some of the chicks have gained a bit of wing strength and can hop/fly as they travel along our bodies!

Some of us have even been gifted with the chicken making to the top of our heads! But most of us are just happy to get up close and say hello!

I’d really love to keep a couple at school for a bit longer, as the kids really enjoyed the visit from last years chickens.

New Yam Festival!

Technically the New Yam Festival is on Saturday, but as with all great weekend occasions, we make them fit into our week day experiences 🙂

We started with a group time that introduced Nigeria, as a country, what a Yam was – and how I didn’t have one but a sweet potato was like it – what the difference was between potatoes and sweet potatoes, how and why the Nigerian people celebrated the harvest of their yams, hen I made a mask/headdress like the ones they wear for the festival and parade.

It all got a bit crazy after that, as I fitted hats, another staff member added double-sided tape (for ease of decorating) and the children moved on to a table which had and arrangement of leaves, feathers, flower cutouts and insect cutouts.

Once done, we grabbed out instruments, chose our leader and ‘tail’ then prepared to entertain the younger kids with our parade 🙂

Straight down our yard, making lots of noise – no doubt having the centrelink customers on the other side of the fence wondering what was going on 🙂

Into the koala yard following the balance walk along the sandpit and around the obstacle course!

We had one teacher giving out sweets to the children as we returned, in high spirits to our outdoor group time area – getting to make so much noise and showing off our creations was an invigorating experience!

Our wonderful cook had gotten right into the theme and created two sweet potato dishes for us, one a roasted savoury number, the other a sweet concoction of melted marshmallow and boiled vegetable! The majority of children enjoyed both dishes, with some making their way up for seconds of their favourite dish 🙂

Of course the best thing about wearing crowns in getting to keep wearing them during play! Interestingly, the boys wore them, while a few of the girls allocated characters to them, the two that stand out in my memory are a fairy and Princess Fiona (from Shrek)

The craziness of busy we felt as teachers was probably due to us normally having a fairly calm morning time that allows for small group play and individual interactions, so getting everyone together at once for art activities and big noise was definitely not normal for us! However, the children coped well with most able to self-regulate their hyper activity to move on to productive outdoor play.

In the late afternoon, I grabbed an African tambourine and donned the headdress then began a rousing game of chasey and hide ‘n’ seek, beating my Tambourine slowly as I crept along the yard, shaking out my headdress for emphasis on ‘looking’. As I approached the hiding places, I let the bells ring more and sped up the beat of the drum so that the kids had an aural sense of anticipation of being found. It was fun, it was exciting and it was hard work wearing that headdress – I might need to trim a layer in front of the eyes for more play on Monday!

Feeling Plucky :)

Yesterday a put a lot of questions out there. I was asking myself just how do I tie in learning about recycling, environment, curiosity, learning and healthy eating. I don’t have all the answers and I never will claim that I do, but today I felt a click as I realised that just maybe I was getting it right.

Our jungle area is drying out, we’ve noted the leaves falling, the textures changing and the colours fading. Today I added a new splash of colour by adding in some branches from on of my mandarin trees from home. Complete with mandarins 🙂

Immediately the smells drifted out, the colour livened up the area and the kids eyes were drawn to it. We started our morning talking about how potatoes grow under the ground, watermelons grow on vines on the ground and that apples grow on trees. The discussion that followed incorporated where we might find mandarins growing, what did they need and how could we get them off the tree. An extra safety tip was added, to hold the tree, because these were just branches in pots and we didn’t want to lose the lot with one pull!

The kids then went off in small groups to pick their own fruit to have for morning tea. It was a really wonderful to watch the children making choices and feeling confident about their food sourcing. We had enough fruit on the trees to invite the younger age groups out to pick their own fruit too 🙂

Once settled on our morning tea mat, the children quickly learnt how to open the mandarin, either through watching children with prior knowledge or poking at the hole made from where the branch had pulled out the centre piece of skin. We’d asked them to deposit all their peels into the buckets and bowls so that we could put them in our scraps buckets for one of the families chickens.  They were tidier than at most morning teas!

I was surprised by how quickly the children devoured their mandarins, often it’s one of the fruits left on our morning platters! I think it really shows how much more likely it is that kids will eat foods that they are part of preparing! I also loved that the younger class used a wicker basket for scraps – it just added a whole new element to the activity that I hadn’t thought of!

Once we were all juiced up, we moved on to a related art activity. Trying to extend the children’s attention to multiple steps as well as delaying the gratification of a single step art project, we introduced 3 key areas to complete our pictures of the mandarin trees.

First, we needed to dray the trunk and branches of our tree. I tend to draw basic shapes to encourage the children to take the first steps towards successful representation, so we saw an array of tree styles. By the end of it, many of the children had begun copying this style of “T-crossing” trees from their peers and it sadly reminded me of an article I’d read years ago about how children of this age will draw birds in the sky with bodies, wings, beaks and eyes. Once they’ve entered primary school however, it takes only a few years and all that individualism and creativity is mostly gone, with children having learnt that they can just add a rounded m shape into the sky and that is ‘enough’ to call a bird.

Then we moved on to print leaves on our tree branches. We used plastic tannagram pieces on these fantastic paint pads. We can just refill them any time the paint runs low and they stay moist for ages!

Finally the children moved to another table and used cotton reels (from our threading box) to stamp on some lovely, fresh mandarins! Many kids saw the joy in this multi step activity and did the cycle numerous times, changing up their art work with each rendition.Which I loved 🙂

As the art tables tapered down and the other areas of the room gained interest, a few children questioned what would happen to the other mandarins, so we went outside to collect them all and handed the full basket over to our chef for an afternoon fruit salad:)

This whole process felt successful and worthwhile. I’m not a natural gardener so this sort of activity normally makes me feel like I’m out of my depth. However, today has given me the confidence to bring in a basket of lemons from our lemon tree and teach the kids how to make lemonade! I’d really love for them to create a little stall and ‘sell’ it to the parents as they arrive to pick up the kids! Maybe we could bake cookies and sell ‘cookies and lemonade’ to our other friends for snack! Oh my mind has already begun to tick over the possibilities!

Cutting along the bias

One of the things we are confronted with everyday in childcare are bias’. How we react to others, how we help children interpret their own and ensuring that we both understand the families personal choices as well as helping parents and carers understand where we are coming from.

The other day we had our make up day. This can be quite confronting for some families – especially so for Dad’s opinions of their sons.

Likewise we can have parent’s upset because their little girl comes home with bruises and scrapes from climbing, running, building – instead of a bag full of artwork like their big sister.

What had me thinking about this was watching the ‘Koala’ kids cooking. The age group is 2 years old to 3 and a half, so their abilities and interests vary. The connections they make to each other and the resources vary greatly. The way they play with the equipment you put out is influenced by the particular individual or groups of children attending the activity. Because not all of them are talking yet, their play is far more interpretive. They are literally showing  your how they understand the world around them. what they connect when they look at the play area you have out, to what they are aware of.

Originally the ‘home corner’ table was set each morning with sparse plates and all the foods in the kitchen, gradually more food was added to the plates and the table until it looked like we were expecting a medieval feast!

It took one comment, from one of our fantastic Koala room girls, for  me to notice that we didn’t have saucepans or different textures of household objects; wooden spoons, metal whisks, plastic spatulas – it was all plastic. Was this because we saw it as a play area instead of a learning opportunity or because we didn’t trust the children, ourselves or the value of these items? Wow. I couldn’t believe I’d been so biased that the questions had not occurred to me, until *that* innocent comment!

So off to the local Op Shop I went. Disappointed to find only one small pot for sale and very few utensils at all. I tentatively asked the girls at the counter if there happened to be any more pots available and what followed was one the most exciting op-shop experiences in my life! I won’t go into details now, but I ended up walking away with a carton of saucepans, various utensils, bamboo steamers,  many cane baskets, kids costumes and a box of lego!

Hoping that the new additions to home corner would create more interest and extend the connections between the children’s knowledge, the opportunities for learning and the bonding between staff and children, we changed up the area to allow for more space, but also to set a boundary for play (so no stray pot pans wandered off to cause damage to peers and windows!)

The initial layout had 4  pots with a utensil  each and a collection of cotton balls inside. The area soon became so popular, that we bought out the other saucepans and utensils! The children showed us their understanding of hot, of sorting, or space and complex motor skills needed to hold a pot and stir at the same time. Their imaginations engaged their peers and their educators in play.

Dinners, food and even marshmallows were being cooked and served up! We needed to add another table as the play gained momentum and more children were served meals and drinks.

The success of the area was valued through the positive interactions between carers and children, the engagement the children showed when accessing and extending play in the area and the engagement other children could enjoy in various other areas of the room. Without a doubt, the area will be tweaked and refined to reflect the growing involvement of the kids, but it’s one I’m hoping to walk through without the blinkers of unrecognised bias’ on!

Notes from a Seminar

I recently went to a Cultural Awareness Seminar. I found it exciting and interesting with so many AHA moments that I knew I’d have to share it 🙂 It’s long, but well worth reading or printing for your centre too! I may randomly upload notes form various seminars I’ve been too. I get so inspired by them and feel a rejuvenation of prospects and Ideas. If you think this is a good idea or are really not interested, let me know!

Cultural Awareness Training

May 2011

To clarify, a Migrant is a person who chooses to leave their home country, while a Refugee is one who is forced to leave. Whether this is to do with their race, religion, political views, nationality or social group.

They are resettled by the UN, often without paperwork like birth certificates. They are experiencing changes at the same time as needing to adapt to their current life. They are recovering from trauma and may be separated from family. Others spend years in refugee camps, in hard conditions, before being resettled.

Children born in refugee camps can have issues with identifying their nationality. Ie Iranian families birthing in Iraq or African families birthing in Egypt will still call their children Iranian or African, whilst formal papers call then Iraqi or Egyptian.

Middle East

*many students may have difficulty maintaining their cultural identity as well as ‘fitting into’ the school culture. Ramadan is a month of feasting (eating only before dawn and after sunset) followed by 3 days of food, which often sees the children being absent during the feast. Hijabs are required in mixed company, which would mean that in PE classes, at mixed schools, the girls would still be fully covered. Some parents prefer to send their girls to traditionally Catholic schools, as they offer an all girl environment in which the girls can participate fully.

*by the age of 10 girls are required to follow the religious and cultural ways, which means limited contact with males – including teachers. By 15 it would be entirely inappropriate to shake hands, touch or hold unsupervised conversations with males of the same or greater age.

*Middle eastern culture sees girls and boys educated separately and some girls not allowed to go to school at all, instead being tutored at home.

*The education system runs on a Pass or Fail advancement system. If a student does not pass at least 3 of the 5 subjects, they do not advance to the next year level. This leads to mixed age classrooms. Technically, you could have a grade one classroom with children aged 4 to 20.

*children often know more about the Australians culture and language through school. Some parents will use their children as interpreters – it is our job to educate the parents on the importance of their child being at school and getting help from interpreters or community liaison officers to help the family achieve what they need without diminishing the child’s education.


*Families have difficulty working with the expectations of schools. The ideas of learning through play, group work, talking in class, child centred learning, written assignments and research vs structured lessons are foreign to them. Their classrooms are teacher led, learning from text (ie pages 1 through 5) then presenting oral reports to show their understanding. When parents find children’s drawings, they might feel inclined to think “throw that in the bin, that’s not work, that’s playing”

*Students can find these new environments daunting, the have a fear of not knowing the ‘correct’ answer, not asking for help and have no prior experience in the ‘risk taking’ of learning.

*It’s important to understand the students behaviour – their lack of literacy or understanding can cause misbehaving. While the segregation and systems for dealing with misbehaviour will relieve the class and teacher, it won’t help the student understand what is expected of them.

*Most families expect children to go to Uni, it is important to clarify that there are other pathways to education and success like, TAFE and apprenticeships. In their home country, apprenticeships are seen as low-level and frowned upon, but here they offer opportunities to success in many fields.

*For teachers and carers it can be overwhelming when families give them gifts, as Serbian culture teaches people to give gifts as way of thanks. This may include money or jewellery. IT is our job to be thankful and recognise what they are trying to do, but to also re-educate them to what is OK and acceptable in our culture. Letting them know that smaller gifts are fine, chocolates over money or a small quality item over a quantity of goods.

*Schools often close down for bombing and rebuilding. A child might be in their 8th year of school but only have attended school for 6-8 months of each year. When asked “were you away from school for any long periods?” they may not admit to being away because “perfection is expected”.


Family issues faced during transitions to new countries include;

-changes to family structure while trying to keep their culture

-change of roles, responsibilities and duties of child, mother and father

-Importance of communication

-Understanding the role of volunteers

*African culture keeps grandparents in the family to learn from, to tell their stories so that their grandchildren can learn their cultural beliefs

*Family relationships are Very Important, shown by practising respect to older people

*Children show respect by NOT looking in your eye, but also learn to change to be part of their new culture

*The Man is ‘head of the family’, the breadwinner, while the Woman is the ‘Backbone’ of the family, looking after children and logistic duties like bills, food, and money – the man will ask for money and special foods as required. This can be especially difficult when families first come over and centrelink provides the mother with larger family payments and the man looks for work on unemployment benefits. Although the money still goes to the wife, the husband no longer has his sense of place in the family, because He is not giving it to her. (Same in Iran’s culture)

*Wife does not take the family name. The children take the dads name and if the family separates the kids go to the Dad, because the fathers family had paid a dowry in advance.

Dates of Birth are not always known, as birthday celebrations are not part of their culture. That being said, once their children realise that most Australians celebrate birthdays, the kids ask for one too and celebrate their birthday as special as they settle into their new environments.

*Single Mum’s have lots of difficulties, papers and permission notes may take longer to be returned to schools as they may have to go through the Dad first or be delayed due to lack of communication skills.

*African culture is not familiar with volunteers, and families may wonder who these extra people are that spend time with their children or what they are doing. Expressing that the people are just here to help is often enough of an explanation.


Focus of this talk revolved around

-Problems for families with children who have disabilities

-Impact of disability or illness

_Intellectual disability and physical disability

*There can be difficulties in creating Negotiated Education Plans due to language, assessment and trauma experienced.

*Topic is sensitive for families, a BIG Taboo in Bosnian culture to address disabilities openly

*Children who are born with disability cause stress, beyond the disability and health implications themselves, due to cultural restrictions and blame

Common themes when responding to disability


-Blame – patriarchal, the mother gets the blame for the child’s disability

-AN inability to reconcile with the disability in the long term

-Embarrassment and Isolation due to shame and the stigma attached

-Long term family stress and marital breakdown, dissolving relations with siblings

-Rejection of child with disabilities- Dad’s leave, Mum;s blamed and reduced economic status

*Parents will hide a disability from school and families and other students. With meetings, select teacher and the principal will know, NOT the students or community

Don’t ask what the disability is, let child tell you or avoid talking about “it”. Treat them like other


*The child who has a disability is at risk of losing future prospects of marriage. Men may marry of lower standard than the family would expect of other children, while females usually won’t “because they have a fault”

*Families may put children into hiding or miss school and functions for treatment or to avoid revealing illness

*Difficulty accessing support for families through groups etc. due to cultural nature of hiding subject

Strategies for working with children of CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) families

*be aware of gender roles- female talking to female OK, female talking to boy ok, male talking to female needs familial male supervision

*Identify issues of touching – most Bosnian families prefer not to touch or make eye contact (disrespectful), makes don’t shake hands with females, keep a distance at greetings between genders

*be sensitive in approaching the type of disability

*In consultation with teachers about concerns stress that the importance of tests and assessments is to “help the child”. The families are desperate for help but equally desperate that no-one knows

*Explain the role of the CLO’s (Community Liaison Officers) how they are an important link to their communities

*The impact of the worker is enhanced by the families ability to trust them and to meet on common ground


*Vietnamese children are ALL children of refugees, international students or Migrants – each is dealing with a sense of displacement

*Their names have been Anglo -Saxon-ised because the families think they sound ‘wrong’. We need to help parents to learn that ‘we can celebrate his/her name if you help us learn it’. Basically it’s a beautiful name, why change it?

*Work with students to pronounce names like Dung, Phat and Phuk well and promote acceptance and understanding

*When addressing parents, call them Mr or Mrs and their FIRST name. In their community there are too many wongs etc. so this is how they’ve counteracted it

*Women keep their maiden names, children take fathers name

*Don’t accept a smile as understanding, smiling in the Vietnamese culture and mean happy, not happy or hiding something

*Encourage manners, a nod of the head can indicate ‘Thank you’ but it’s important to remind them to say Thank you, Excuse me etc.

*Yes and No questions are very confusing , so they will often give the wrong answer

Vietnamese New Year is Very Important. It is Everyone’s Birthday. Which can cause confusion in ages. For instance a child born in November will be 4 months old, but turns one year old on the New year, and 2 on the next new year. Children enter school at age 4, that’s new year age.

*International Students are often without family or contacts and tend to gravitate towards other international students. Including them in groups or after school activities helps build up little communities for them

*For a while there were lots of mandatory reports made on the Vietnamese students and families, as they would come to school with large marks on their foreheads, necks or backs. However, part of the culture if to use Eucalyptus oil for colds. When rubbed on the skin of someone with NO infection, there is NO mark. When rubbed on someone WITH a cold or flu, it leaves a red or coloured mark for a few days, as it alleviates the symptoms of the illness. This misunderstanding could have been avoided by talking to your CLO first

Columbia, Chile, El Salvador

*There are NO volunteers in their home country, the concept of giving time is something they learn in Australia

*Refugees from the 70’s came from lot’s of violence, which is still experienced today by lots of sadness in their families, by slow learning or learning disabilities, Some are living with grandparents where both parties are dealing with effects of grieving from loss of parents/children

*Child is prompted to say “I know” even if they don’t’ understand

*Culture is based on kindness, so it is devastating for children to experience meanness or cruelty. Children get nightmares and families cleanse with prayers and support from God

*Religion and Family are the two main parts of their culture and not to be dismissed.

*Parents keep their parents in their homes until death, no nursing homes

*Children will point out disabilities as a fact, not ridicule

*Children are ‘street urchins’, preferring to live and play on the streets to get a healthy course of germs and boost to immune system

*When addressing parents use Senor or Senora with their first name – no last names

*Kissing is a normal greeting – even for strangers

*Education system is built on a pass or fail strategy. You Need 3 passes to move up a grade. So the class is of combined ages. You may find year one classes with students aged 4 to 20 years old.

*Parents get confused as to why their children are promoted in Australian schools if they are not doing well.

*Lunch is the most important meal of the day. Soups and meals are made to share with families

*Chile children are not used to sitting on floor with their legs crossed. That is only for the ‘naughty’. They are used to sitting on chairs.

Teach parents and families HOW to react to issues ie Take to doctor, see health nurse

*Parents will change their minds LOTS, it’s part of their culture of thinking things through, learn to go with the flow 🙂


*Notes that a lot of what has been said already is also relevant to this culture

*Family structure, Dad is head of the family, the wife looks after the money, food and kids. Wife supplies husband with his ‘spending money’

*Normally the husband speaks English, so he opens bank accounts. Nowadays the females know how this works and families get joint accounts

*Very good to teach manners, new arrivals and older people not used to Please, Thank You and Excuse me

*New arrivals may look down, be shy and smiling – it’s a sign of respect

*Birthdays aren’t celebrated in Cambodia, but after a while in Australia the children talk parents into joining in. Now they make birthdays Bigger than Australians, giving gifts of money like for weddings

*Some children (and parents) don’t remember birth dates, only the month and year. Lots of people make up birth dates as they need these for Refugee, UN and Australian paperwork.

*In Cambodia the New Year is roughly in April. Everyone ages then, (see Vietnamese birthday’s) although because they follow the lunar calendar they follow the year of the Tiger, Rabbit etc. and this might not gel with the Australian/Roman calendar.

Question and Answer Time

*It is OK to ask if families are Migrant or Refugee, each family will usually answer and divulge as many details as they are comfortable with. But don’t’ press harder than they are willing to give.

*Each CLO agreed that they would prefer to see understanding of their culture and respect for special holidays and beliefs in classrooms, but would like to see their children assimilating into Australian culture, language and traditions through schooling.

*When dealing with loss and grief:-refer to Anglicare grief centre or Smith family etc.

El Salvador

– Keep the memory alive, make a box of items relating to memories of that person

– Importance of mourning, to feel the loss and that family is here for you.

-Bring flowers to the grave

-Loving = Healing

Middle East

-Express feeling, if you do have a home visit wear dark, not colourful clothes for the first few days

-family provides tea or sweets to people who care for children to celebrate with


-49 prayer days at home

-if someone is very ill DO NOT give flowers, this means a wish of death


-40 days of visits then a wake. Visitors may bring flowers or a plate of food to share with other or nest visitors


-Acknowledgement is very important. Sometimes women wont’ go to funerals. There are 40 days of mourning then prayer and a gathering

*What sort of physical contact is ok or not acceptable?

Asian -Don’t pat Asian heads, patting arms is OK for consoling

Serbia – No pats on head, hugs OK. Before christening be aware of the Greek Orthodox belief of the Evil Eye – no people in Babies faces or photos etc. (shared belief with Bosnia)

Bosnia – Avoid touching. Head touch is OK, kissing on babies forehead ONLY

Middle East – boys and girls to touch or kiss OK, by 10/12 not Ok to touch girls unless it is female to female. Females and males will touch and kiss in greeting

Cambodian – sometimes misunderstandings, kids will tell parents “Don’t touch me”. Important to teach the differences between OK touches and Not ok. Between hurting and helping.

African – Sudanese touching is normal between boys, girls and others. By 15 a girl is a woman not good to touch. Shaking hands OK

– Northern Sudan and Somalia from Islamic religion, so touching not Ok

    • Sudanese boys are initiated at 16. They go as a group for a walk to be recognised as children moving to Adulthood. In Africa, groups of 100 walk for 3 months, then you get eh marks on your head and/or circumcised. In Australia there are three main groups of Africans, those who fall under EG (Egypt), KG (Kenya) and ET (Ethiopia), these boys do their walks in these groups but also might be lead to fighting amongst groups.

All agree that the “Steiner Touching technique” is Ok, where you create a space around the child with your arms, their back to your front (not face to face).

*last points –

Africa – Sudan and Ethiopia are different countries, Africa is a continent. IN Sudan Alone, there is over 560 languages.

-Sudanese have a strong community network of Aunts, Uncles and family to step in if family violence or children go wayward.

Bosnia – Cultural Holidays, plan events and school excursions around Ramadan and the 3 days of eating. Children may be away or unable to participate in activities.

Cambodia – 13,14,15 April every year are main holidays with possible exemptions from school.

All – When dealing with a child’s progress or assessment, look at language support, interpreter for parents and be aware that language barriers and cultural beliefs may cause isolation. Let them know that you are here to Help the child and the interpreter or CLO can help them understand and connect with others from their culture.