Britain is now a more diverse society than ever before, but according to new research commissioned by Petra’s Planet, a new virtual world for children to explore and learn about different cultures, over 56% of parents of primary school children think their kids need to be better educated about other cultures.
Generally, primary school children are taught about different cultures as part of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), but this latest independent research, carried out by OnePoll, revealed that over 53% of UK parents don’t think schools are educating children enough about different cultures. The research interviewed 500 UK parents of primary school aged-children from around the country.
Why learn about culture?
There are a number of reasons why parents think it’s important for children to learn about culture. The most popular was tolerance (51%), closely followed by instilling an understanding of different cultures (49%). Interestingly, developing new friendships was also stated as important according to 41% of parents, with 34% of respondents stating that learning about different cultures exposes children to life enhancing experiences.
A staggering 96% of parents took a lateral approach to teaching their children about different cultures, using a variety of ways to instil a greater understanding and exposure to different foods, dress, cultures, religion, and language. 47% of parents believed foreign holidays were the best way of exposing their children to other cultures, and 29% took the more affordable option of eating in different types of restaurants, for example, Thai, Italian and Turkish. The Internet proved slightly more popular than books, 29% versus 28%.
Despite Britain’s ethnic diversity, only 17% of parents of primary school children saw integrating with people from different cultures as a way of teaching young children about different cultures. However, 12% stated that visiting different cultural markets and festivals was one way they exposed their children to other cultures, with 9% researching specific celebrations from another country to enjoy with their children, for example, Chinese New Year and Diwali. Learning a language was only seen by 11% of parents as a way of helping youngsters learn about different cultures.
Eevamaria Halttunen, founder and creative director of Petra’s Planet is passionate about giving young children opportunities to explore and learn about different countries and cultures, she said: “Children love to learn about things that are different. They like to know how people live in other parts of the world, what they wear, what kinds of animals there are and how children play.”
She continued, “Petra’s Planet allows young children to explore different cultures in a safe and fascinating environment. With four countries to choose from, including Sami land, Jordan, Sri Lanka and Senegal, players get the chance to learn about a whole host of different experiences, from visiting a souk in Jordan, camel racing in the desert, to nursing elephants in Sri Lanka and playing djembe drums in Senegal. Children’s fascination is gained through a variety of games, quests and challenges – there are more than 80 in total – how offering children the chance to learn something useful while having great fun with their friends.”
Petra’s Planet was created by Dramaforum Oy, a Finnish media company specialising in children’s products.
The virtual world has been inspired by Eevamaria Halttunen’s book series with the same title and based on the adventures of seven year old Petra who finds a way to travel around the globe. The virtual world continues the theme of curiosity, safety and adventure.
The team are passionate about valuing childhood, partnering with UNICEF in Finland, and keeping Petra’s Planet as commercially free as possible. Petra’s Planet strictly adheres to the best practices of marketing to children.
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