Fostering Armenian identity into children living in Armenia Diaspora must start as soon as they go to school. Some people believe it should start even earlier at home especially with those children who learn to speak Armenian with parents and grandparents at an early age. Children living far away from Armenia should be taught who they are and where from their roots come. This may sound a very natural statement, but it is not that easy. It takes daily efforts and communications to get children to understand that they differ from the natives living in their residence country. It is every Armenian parent’s duty to introduce and explain what it makes to be an Armenian. And never get afraid of the fact that you put your child between two different cultures. They are lucky to have that rich and fulfilling experience, you just need to consider several key points not to confuse them.
Here is a guideline for Armenian parents to link native identity to the teaching process of children when they are grown enough to understand the idea of alphabet and language as a means of communication.
Start with the Armenian alphabet
Not only the language teaching starts with the alphabet, but also introducing the national and cultural identity. This is especially true for the Armenians living all around the world, as we all know how Armenian language keeps our nation alive and saves us from assimilation.
There are many different ways to teach Armenian alphabet at home. To get some great ideas you can read our blog post with tips and suggestions. Resources like alphabet songs, flash cards, games, and even refrigerator magnets may help you out. Also, try out Playland Armenia ԱԲԳ game available to download for free. To spend a offline learning time, you can download Alphabet teaching and Alphabet exercise workbooks for free by Playland Armenia.
Teach Armenian language – speaking, reading and writing
It is not enough to have your children know the prayer and the Armenian alphabet song. Armenian kid needs to read and write in Armenian. We know it is not an easy task, but everything is achievable if there is a strong will and desire. And we know you do have both of them! There are different resources to have children learn Armenian online if your community does not offer a Saturday/Sunday school. You can also use Playland Armenia lifetime Membership to get access to language teaching workbooks full of reading and writing exercises for children from 5-10.
Explain the Armenian genocide and why they live far away
It is not an easy task either, but when your children grow up a bit to understand they differ somehow from the resident country people, they will ask you why we do not live in Armenia. Explain the Armenian genocide trying not to traumatize children but introducing the timeline and occurrences of how their grandparents had appeared in the resident country.
Sing Armenian songs
Music and dances are very important part of child’s development, at the same time they are essential elements of culture. Songs tell a lot about the nation and its culture. Sing Armenian traditional songs at home, teach them to children and try to have them sing you back. Singing Armenian lullabies to them to bed is another great idea. Grandmothers will be so touched and liking it a lot. You can start with a simple lullaby, then with the age growth move to alphabet songs and other children’s music pieces to teach both vocabulary and national values.
Read Armenian fairy tales at bedtime
The Armenian grandparents and parents should consider bedtime storytelling as an important part of nurturing Armenian identity into the younger members of their families who are born far from the Motherland. Besides the vocabulary skills that Armenian fairytales and stories can supply during everyday reading sessions, there are even more important powers that they possess. Make sure you choose national Armenian stories and fairytales by Armenian poets and classics, like Hovhannes Toumanian, Ghazaros Aghayan, Khnko Aper and many others. There is also much choice for the folk tales for children.
Cook Armenian food as often as you can
Food is another essential component of culture. Does your family require dolma, khash or at least a simple basturma omelet? Make sure you cook traditional Armenian food as often as you can at home. Besides cooking try to explain the process and the ingredients to children, especially if you have daughters. Always accompany the food cooking with a traditional Armenian song. They say it makes it even more tasty!
Visit Armenia to experience the people and culture
Find some time for making a family trip to Armenia. Arriving at Yerevan Zvartnots airport, do not limit yourself with only Yerevan. Travel the country with children, try food everywhere, get your children to meet the locals, talk to them and make acquaintances. It will help them to feel closer to native Armenians, experience the modern Armenia with its people and traditions. Take them to carpet stores, churches and well known country monuments to be sure they recognize their Motherland in all aspects.
Have children to attend Armenian Sunday school
All large communities offer Saturday/ Sunday Armenian schools for elementary and secondary studies. Even if there are no classes available with structured syllabus, the churches and community centers may provide books and contacts of people that can teach Armenian to your children. As mentioned above, there are different online options to teach Armenian to children. Playland Armenia lifetime membership offers language workbooks, storybooks and educational videos in Western and Eastern Armenian.
Add Armenian lifestyle elements in your daily life
It can be vary from visiting the Armenian church on Sunday, baking gata, inviting neighbours to a coffee or celebrating special days in Armenian traditional way. Let your children recognize and accept the common lifestyle for the Armenians.
Join Playland Armenia community
We have developed this platform to assist the community of Armenian parents and children and to easen the ways of learning Armenian online and offline. Download the language and culture teaching games for free to link your child’s leisure time to learning Armenian. To access offline learning materials including language teaching workbooks, storybooks, videos and the parent guide join Playland Armenia lifetime Membership now.