Two local groups are teaming up to create a new program aimed at teaching local children more about the world around them through interactive games, musical performances, storytelling and more.
Hosted by kidscommons in partnership with CAMEO and funded by a Welcoming Community II grant, The Being Me Passport Project will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 during Ethnic Expo.
The project is the result of a similar event CAMEO hosted at last year’s Ethnic Expo. Children picked up a pretend passport and had it stamped at booths from each of the nine ethnic groups in CAMEO.
Kristin Munn, spokesperson for CAMEO, said that partnering with kidscommons will make the program more effective by providing more hands-on, interactive learning.
“They are the experts on kids’ learning,” Munn said. “This really takes it to the next level.”
This year, the children will start by making a photo for their passport, either as a drawn self-portrait or using an iPad app. Then they will have the opportunity to attend presentations from each group represented within CAMEO.
Presentations will include elements of art, music and storytelling. Kidscommons executive director Amy Kleinert said a scavenger hunt is also in the works to help children and their families discover new facts about other cultures.
Kleinert said that such a partnership has been on her agenda since she began her job in February. She said much of her interest in diversity awareness is inspired by her 7-year-old daughter Avery, who is a special-needs child.
“My greatest fear is that she will be bullied or mistreated,” Kleinert said. “I have discovered that the more you understand, the less ‘different’ others are.”
Munn said that she hopes that the day sparks an interest in travel among the young attendees.
“It’s a big world out there,” Munn said. “We want kids to be excited to go out and see it.”
Other programming resulting from the $3,000 grant is a partnership with the Bartholomew County History Center that will introduce children to the culture and cuisines of four countries: Mexico, India, China and Scotland. Programs, which begin in November, will include traditional stories, hands-on activities, music and art.
And next spring, kidscommons will host The Arc of Bartholomew County and First Steps of South East Indiana to explore acceptance of those with developmental or physical disabilities.
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