INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL RESPONSIVENESS
Culture is "the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning" (Bates and Plog, 1990, p7).
Culture establishes a sense of foundation for children. As foster and adoptive parents of children from other cultures or religions, parenting is not so much shaping children as preparing them for healthy growth in the facets that are already present from their heritage. It is a work of enabling, rather than constraining.
The challenge lies in understanding your child's heritage and incorporating it into everyday life. Thank you for preserving and cherishing your child's heritage.
Questions to Ask When Trying to Understand Culture:
Although these questions might not pertain directly to you and your child, they may be helpful in coming to understand the culture your child comes from.
- What is the purpose and function of the nuclear family?
- What roles do males and females play in the family?
- What is the role of religion for the family? How do these beliefs influence child-rearing practices?
- What are the meaning, identity, and involvement of the larger homogenous group (e.g., tribe, race, nationality)?
- What family rituals, traditions, or behaviors exist?
- What is the usual role of children in the family?
- What is the perception of the role of children in society?
- What types of discipline does the family consider to be appropriate?
- Who is usually responsible for childcare?
- What are the family's attitudes or beliefs regarding health care?
- What are the family's sexual attitudes and values?
- How are cultural beliefs incorporated into family functioning?
- How does the family maintain its cultural beliefs?
- Who is assigned authority and power for decision-making?
- What tasks are assigned based on traditional roles in the family?
- How do family members express and receive affection? How do they relate to closeness and distance?
- What are the communication styles of the family?
- How does the family solve problems?
- How do family members usually deal with conflict? Is anger an acceptable emotion? Do members yell and scream or withdraw from conflict situations?
Here are some links to help locate cultural media in your area:
Radio stations – www.radio-locator.com
Magazines – www.metagrid.com
Newsletters – www.newsletteraccess.com
Stores (bakeries, specialty shops, etc.) – www.dexonline.com
Museums – www.museumca.org/usa – Check listings to see what cultural shows are on display
Theatre – http://directory.google.com, click Arts. Plays about specific cultures, or by native authors
Culture camps – http://directory.google.com, under search type in culture camp you are interested in, ex: “Latino culture camp”, “Korean culture camp”, etc.
Recipes – www.allrecipes.com
Support Groups, Clubs, Associations, Groups – http://directory.google.com, click Society
Internet – use the Internet as a research and learning tool
Tips on using Internet search engines – www.monash.com/spidap.html
Family Story Book:
Think about family/cultural backgrounds and stories to pass on to children. Consider what memories of childhood you want your child to have. Think about current family routines and activities as stories as well as folk celebrations to document.
Preparing your materials:
Collect the materials you will need. Use quality materials – fade resistant and acid-free colored paper is best. Gather glue or other adhesive; scissors and paper-edges in patterns; rulers, pencils, erasers, a hole punch, camera; and a 3-ring binder for the storybook cover.
Collect items to include. Make hand or footprints for the book using paper and paint. Take pictures of family members doing everyday activities – waking up, eating meals, playing, going to and from school, and going to sleep at night.
Gather souvenirs and keepsakes to include – photocopies of marriage and birth certificates, baby ID bracelets from the hospital, greeting cards and letters, children’s artwork, ticket stubs, pressed flowers and leaves, party napkins, magazine pictures, and old photos.
Assembling your family story book:
Make the Family Story Book a record of daily life as you live it. Use your souvenirs and keepsakes.
Create a page showing the family enjoying their favorite activities like exercising, enjoying playgrounds, playing sports, picnicking, cooking, reading, or other pastimes.
Use photos to tell stories. Try out a variety of ways to display photos and use interesting materials. The photos can be cropped; you can use templates and make mats, corners, and decorative edges.
Write about the photos to create a record of family life that brings back memories and stimulates storytelling.
Make a list of children’s favorite games and play activities and decorate it with artwork. Include it in the storybook along with pictures of children at play from magazines or use family photos that show your child playing favorite games.
Create mini-posters of your child’s stage of development for the storybook.
Supplement photos and drawings with pictures you and your children find in magazines and catalogues.
Allow your child to look at the book as often as he or she wants. This is not a book that should sit on a shelf gathering dust. It is for your child.
Other Helpful Websites and Information:
Utah Association for the Deaf – www.uad.org
Deaf Linx -- http://www.deaflinx.com/
Library for the blind – http://library.utah.gov/blind.html
National Federation for the Blind in Utah – http://utah.citysearch.com/feature/33328/
Little People of America
Families for African American Awareness – www.africanamericans.com
Asian Association of Utah – www.aau-slc.org
1588 South Major Street
(Southeast of the U.S. Bank on Main Street)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Open: Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Refugee Center located in the same location.
Korean-American Pride Camp
Utah Russia Institute – http://www.uvu.edu/intlaffairs/russia/
3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, sliced
1 small red onion, diced or sliced in thin rings
¼ cup olive oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1-½ teaspoons dried oregano
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 black Greek olives, pitted and sliced, or small can of black olives
Combine tomatoes, cucumber and onion in a salad bowl. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over salad. Sprinkle salad with oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Finish by sprinkling feta cheese and olives over salad. Enjoy.
Native American Indians of Utah – www.onlineutah.com/indians.shtml
Gift of Utah – www.kued.org/productions/polynesian/about/index.html
Basic Culture Information – http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/islam/geography.html
Muslim Forum of Utah – www.muslim-forum.org
Children’s Literature – Annotated Bibliography
Novels, Short Stories, and Picture Books:
Ellis, Deborah. Mud City. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2003
A novel linked to Parvana’s Journey about the plight of children in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Heide, Florence Parry and Gilliland, Judith Heide. House of Wisdom. DK, 1999.
Fictional account of Ishaq and his father, Hunayn, in 9th century Baghdad. The two are translators of scholarly books for the House of Wisdom, a world-renowned library built by Caliph. Grades K-4.
Khan, Rukhsana. Muslim Child. Morton Grove, Ill.: Albert Whitman & Co., 2002
This collection of short stories and poems deal with every major aspect of Islam from a child’s prospective.
Khan, Rukhsana. The Roses In My Carpets. New York: Holiday House, 1998
A young Afghan refugee finds hope amid adversity. Grades 4-5
Khan, Rukhsana. Ruler of the Courtyard. New York: Viking, 2003
Sava, a girl in Pakistan, overcomes her fear of chickens.
Boren, Helen. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
A biography of the first Muslim African-American basketball star.
Khan, Saniyasnain. Tell Me About the Prophet Muhammad. New Delhi: Goodword Press, 2000.
A good resource on the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Salazar, B.; Wilkinson, P. DK’s Eyewitness Islam: An Introduction for Kids
A detailed guide to Islam.
For more books and ideas, please visit www.rukhsanakhan.com
Jewish Community Center (JCC) – http://www.slcjcc.org/
Preschool, elementary school and after-school programs, ski lessons, pools and swimming lessons, tennis, yoga, karate, hiking, Judaica classes, day camp, youth groups, gym, receptions, etc.
Jewish Family Services (JFS) – http://www.jfsutah.org/
Jewish Family Services of Salt Lake City is pleased to offer the following community programs: counseling and psychotherapy for students, other individuals and families; senior adult services including consultation, referral, and coordination of care; refugee resettlement; and an interest free loan program. For referrals, to volunteer or for more information, please call (801) 581-1330.
Children’s Literature – Annotated Bibliography
Drucker, Malka. Illustrated by Nancy Patz. The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays. Little, Brown (0-316-19343-7)
An ideal book for anyone interested in learning more about Jewish holidays and culture. Includes stories, songs, recipes and craft projects. Helps readers understand the spiritual meanings behind rituals. Read aloud: 4 and up. Beginning reader: 8 and up.
Goldin, Barbara Diamon. Bat Mitzvah. Viking 1996 (0-670-86034-4); Puffin, 1997 (0-14-037516-3)
A guide to construct the bat mitzvah ceremony, for girls ages 11 and up.
Goldin, Barbara Diamond. Illustrated by Elaine Greenstein. While the Candles Burn. Viking, 1996 (0-670-85875-7)
This is an excellent collection of traditional and original Hanukkah stories. It uses stories to express themes of Hanukkah, rather than tell stories set during Hanukkah. Read aloud: 5 and up. Beginning reader: 7 and up.
Kimmel, Eric A. Bar Mitzvah. Viking, 1995 (0-670-85540-5)
For boys ages 11 and up this examines all aspects of the coming of age ceremony.
Moorman, Margaret. Light the Lights. Scholastic, 1994 (0-590-47003-5)
Emma and her family celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. A simple story that captures interfaith holiday celebrations for ages 3-7.
Challah – traditional egg bread for the Jewish Sabbath.
From www.allrecipes.com, submitted by Joan Callaway.
2 ½ cups warm water (110º F/45º C)
1 T active dry yeast
½ cup honey
2 T vegetable oil
1 T salt
8 cups flour
1 T poppy seeds (optional)
In a large bowl sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 ½ hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1-½ inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and let rise about one hour.
Preheat oven to 375º F/190º C.
Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous about over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
Bake at 375º F/190º C for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for a least one hour before slicing.