How to Honor Arab American Heritage Month
- Have a dance party with your infant or toddler set to Paula Adbul tunes—your little one will love her ‘90s jams!
- Preschoolers can channel the comedic skills of Maysoon Zayid and Mohammed Amer with silly face contest.
- For School-Age children, sample Chef Tariq Nsir’s go-to Arabic spices: black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
April is Arab American Heritage Month. In our classrooms and centers, we will be honoring Arab Americans by acknowledging and celebrating our differences.
As we set out to explore new cultures, we focus on the human experience. Instead of talking about tourist destinations, landmarks, and popular foods, we see it all through a person-first lens. Bringing focus to who’s story is being told and who is telling that story allows us to break through stereotypes and allow kids to contextualize.
At KinderCare, we follow an anti-biased approach to education. This way of teaching helps children build empathy while gaining a positive sense of self. And it all starts by acknowledging our similarities and seeing our differences as the assets that they really are. When children do this, they are better equipped to develop respect and appreciation for people like—and unlike—themselves.
Ready to honor Arab American Heritage Month? Check out the age-appropriate ways we are celebrating in our classrooms and what activities you can do at home to commemorate the contributions made by these artists, visionaries, and athletes.
Babies and Toddlers
It’s never too early to show appreciation for another culture and a great way to start is by singing and dancing. In our centers we will be celebrating the artistic contributions of Arab-American poets, artists and musicians. Fun fact: ‘90s icon Paula Abdul is Arab-American! And while she is a talented singer and actress, she is definitely known for her dance moves. So, turn up the music and have a dance party with your little one to continue this curriculum at home—they will love her ‘90s jams!
No one is funnier than your kiddo, so why not channel the comedic skills of Maysoon Zayid and Mohammed Amer. An Arab American who experiences cerebral palsy, Maysoon is a pro at stand-up comedy while Mohammed is the first and only Arab American refugee comic to perform for U.S troops overseas. In our centers, we will be making funny masks using paper plates, yarn and other art supplies and telling knock-knock jokes, but to bring this moment home, try showing your comedic side and laugh-out-loud with a silly-face contest. See who can make the silliest face and hold it for 10 seconds—when everyone laughs, everyone wins.
Make mealtime a time to learn more about Arab American heritage. Chef Tariq Nsir was raised in Jordan to a mother from Michigan and a Palestinian father and is now famous for his Middle Eastern Cuisine. To showcase his talents in our centers, we are creating a mock restaurant, complete with student chefs and servers. At home try exploring Chef Tariq Nsir’s favorite Arabic spices: black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Your family may already enjoy some of these spices but why not sample the others as a group, and try them in your next dish?
Learning through the eyes of others can help children create a sense of identity, develop empathy, and cultivate respect for human diversity. And then, we can move past stereotypical mindsets and work towards a positive and inclusive community.