All Saint's Day (November 1) is a wonderful time to celebrate God's grace at work through all the earth in the lives of his saints. Activities can vary by age group, and may include a costume parade, stories of their lives, or a dramatization of the saints of many lands meeting in heaven. Encourage children to learn about the country their saint represents and why that saint is so important to the people of that land. To assist your students in their research, links to brief biographies of many of the following saints are available at the NMW website, listed above.
For older children, a discussion of the missionary work of the church, as reflected in the lives of the saints of the past and continuing apostolic works today, is an excellent way to help your students understand the global mission of the church, and grow in their appreciation of racial and ethnic diversity. In addition to the lives of the saints, you can also access links to Catholic Mission organizations such as Maryknoll, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Catholic Missions at the NMW website.
Sponsor a Children's Olympics
The celebration of the Olympics every four years is a wonderful lesson in multi-national pride and cooperation. From the opening ceremonies with its parade of flags from all participating nations to the competitions themselves - often in sports not familiar to many Americans - the Olympics provide a rich opportunity to learn about the cultures of our neighbors around the world and to appreciate our similarities and differences.
Games are at the heart of the Olympics and are dear to the hearts of children throughout the world. While the basics remain the same, with running and jumping, chants and rhymes, chance and skill, each nation has its own traditions of play.
Sponsoring a "Children's Olympics", featuring games from around the world, is a delightful way to introduce children to different cultures. Have the children make flags to represent the countries included in your Olympics and have your own parade of nations. A few of the many games enjoyed around the world are offered here.
“For I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Mt. 25)
List of Resources
Two other useful tools that will help children come to terms with ethnic diversity and the real problems that many communities outside the United States confront can be found below:
Appreciating America’s Heritage: Immigration Resource Guide for K-12 Educators, America Immigration Law Foundation, Washington, DC, 2009
This instructional guide for teachers provides lesson plans to introduce students, especially those who may not be exposed directly to ethnically diverse populations to the topic of immigration
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has a wide range of free educational material for all age groups that can be used by teachers in their classrooms to educate their students on issues related to refugees and cultural differences. They also offer lesson plans that can be used for children as young as nine years old to up to eighteen. Topics covered include basic information on refugees to a more in-depth discussion on such issues as human rights. To gain access to this material, please visit UN Refugees.org: