Immigrant children’s play can clash with mainstream cultures: Guofang Li

Interesting article and study on culture and play, with interesting and relevant examples of differences between groups and related integration challenges:

Every child in the world is a master of play. Play is part of the basic developmental experiences of human lives. Children learn about culture, social norms and language through play. Precisely because of its sociocultural nature, children in different cultures engage in play differently due to differences in language, context and social norms.

Parents in different cultures also perceive play differently. Some see children’s play as part of their natural learning process — “learning through play.” In other cultures, children’s play may be seen as just a pastime and separate from learning.

When children move to another culture and context, their experiences of play can be more complex than commonly thought. Play can be an effective and natural way for immigrant children learn to socialize with children in their new country. On the other hand, differences in context, language, social norms and parental perceptions of play may create social conflicts among children in cross-cultural contexts.

The living arrangements of families influence how children play in their new land. This week, Statistics Canada released new census data on multi-generational and multi-family dwellings. From 2001 to 2016, multi-generational households rose 38 per cent. The data also points to increasing settlement patterns of multi-family dwellings in several immigrant-rich cities such as Brampton, Markham and Vaughan on the northern edges of Toronto, and other suburban communities such as Surrey, near Vancouver. These trends, even though they’re likely due to financial reasons, may help immigrant families preserve and reconstruct play environments for their children in the new land.

Source: Immigrant children’s play can clash with mainstream cultures

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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