A group of kindergarten and first grade Daisies work on a mural.
World Thinking Day happens every year on February 22. It is a global event that Girl Scouts and Girl Guides take part in. Each year there is a new theme based on the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.
The idea behind World Thinking Day is to help the Scouts become better Global citizens. Last year's focus was on education and our troop learned about going to school in Nigeria. This year the focus is on creating partnerships to promote peace. Many service units are holding World Thinking Day fairs where each troop presents on a country. Our troop voted to learn more about China. We took a trip to Chinatown and ate dim sum, we had a Chinese language teacher come to our meeting and show the girls what a day of school is like in Taiwan, and we had the girls look through books on China to learn more.
As our troop is made of second graders, we emphasized that learning about another culture is a great way to promote peace and develop partnerships. We talked about how a lot of conflict comes from misunderstanding or fear. Our scouts are fortunate enough to go to a school with a diverse student body--explaining cultural customs to them is pretty easy.
If your scouts are unfamiliar with cultures outside of their own there are a few steps you can take to introduce them to new cultures, and reduce the "that's weird" factor.
2. Take a look at the food! Food is always a nice way to introduce kids to a new place. And please don't start with the weird stuff--how would you feel if someone started their exploration of America by passing out Rocky Mountain oysters?
3. Find a real-life person who has either lived in that country or is from that country. You can look into contacting embassies, multicultural student groups at universities, or the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) Facebook page.
4. Get books from the library that are written for your Scouts' grade level. Books written for elementary aged kids usually have great pictures.
5. Look at the art that comes from the country. Talk about how it was made and see if you can recreate it.
And above all, encourage the girls to talk about what they like (rather than focus on what they dislike). The purpose here is to introduce them to the world beyond in a way that encourages curiosity and promotes exploration.
There is more information on World Thinking Day on the Girl Scouts webpage.