Start ‘Em Young : How Art Can Change Their Brain

(Like Literally)

This Blows My Mind, Pun Intended

What our kids experience can literally change their brains. This is both exciting and terrifying. SO MUCH responsibility! When kids are young, their brains have greater neuroplasticity, meaning they are little sponges learning everything surrounding them. Neuroscientist, Dr. Eagleman says, “One of my big interests is in neuroplasticity. Brains are rewriting themselves all the time. As a parent, this both terrifies me and liberates me. Every single thing I am doing next is shaping their brain and crafting who they are and who they have the capacity to become.” 

Writing New Data

I’d like to propose that this is one of the reasons culture learning and global awareness are important, even for young children. Perhaps, especially for young children.

Exposing kids to different places, cultures, and people is literally helping to write data into their brains for what the world looks like and what to expect from it. These first impressions of the world stick with us. They also show us that we can come to a subject with more than one perspective. 

So…what ARE all the benefits of global awareness?

Obviously, this is a tough thing to measure but here are a few benefits I believe exist:

  1. Being able to see that my story is not the only story. It’s important to step into someone else’s shoes.  
  2. Being exposed to the broad spectrum of people who have contributed to our world. Intelligence and Beauty has many faces. 
  3. Being shaped by the art, music, dance, and beauty itself of other cultures, which in turn become part of us as people. 

How do we get in on these great benefits of early exposure to global awareness??!

  1. Books that represent the world from many perspectives. 
  2. Celebrating different holidays along with people from other places, or simply reading about them if the holiday does not align with your religious beliefs. 
  3. Tuning in to events like the World Cup or the Olympics, and even doing units on these, getting out a globe or map while talking about the different places. 
  4. Video chat with people or even classes in other parts of the world! 
  5. Experience ART from many places and cultures! Make sure your kid knows that art wasn’t just made by dead white dudes! (A lot of arts curriculum only covers the “masters”, which is not particularly diverse in its representation.)

Talk Is Cheap

Let me say one more thing about that last point on experiencing ART. Experience is the thing that makes learning go deep. It’s never enough to just talk about it. What better way to experience another culture and place than to step into the shoes of another person through art?? Art is our chance to step into the experience of someone and walk around with their shoes and clothes on. Art is our chance to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch another place. And yes, this is a huge reason why I created my History Makers course. I believe in kids, even from a young age, experiencing different places and cultures through the Arts…because I know how much this can form and shape who they become!

If I haven’t sold global learning enough yet, I don’t know if I ever will! I promise you that I’m not just saying all of this to point you toward a course I created. I’m saying it because I believe it down to my bones. I really do. 

Everyone needs a little help from their friends every now and then. And so I’m providing some Discussion Questions you can try out with your LGC (Little Global Citizen) the next time you’re looking at some art (any medium really) and wondering what in the world to say. Simply sign up below for The Culture Canvas’ monthly newsletter packed with downloads, ideas, and book recommendations to get these fun, printer-friendly Discussion Questions delivered right to your inbox!


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