Kids in the classroom: learning about India

Sean and Sofia, year four students at Grove Park Primary School, drink tea from a remote Indian village
Sean and Sofia drink tea that was grown in Chembakolli © Grove Park Primary School

Family trips are a fantastic way to learn about different places and cultures, but sometimes classroom-based activities are just as fun! We spoke to Ms Gallagher and Mrs Willis from Grove Park Primary school in London to find out what their students have been up to.

Lily-Ella, a year four student at Grove Park Primary School, traces an elephant design for a batik art work
Lily-Ella traces an elephant that she will make into a batik design © Grove Park Primary School

What have you been studying recently?

During the summer term, our year four children (ages eight and nine) learnt all about India. We studied one village in particular, Chembakolli, and learnt how the lives of the people of that village differed from ours. Towards the end of the topic, we arranged an India day, where we dressed up in saris, learnt a Bollywood dance and even made a chickpea curry!

Students play marbles in the sunshine in the playground of Grove Park Primary School
Playing marbles, a traditional Indian playground game © Grove Park Primary School

What did the kids think?

The children loved learning about India and taking part in our practical lessons. We drank tea from Chembakolli, as tea growing is its main industry; we played traditional playground games like the children from the village would; and of course taking part in cooking and dancing lessons and dressing up really enthralled the children.

Ms Gallagher gets some help from Miss Vanita getting into her sari in the classroom at Grove Park Primary School
Miss Vanita tells the class all about the traditional clothing worn in India and dresses Ms Gallagher in a sari © Grove Park Primary School

Our lovely SMSAs (dinner ladies) who either come from India, or whose families come from India, taught several of the lessons, so the children got a genuine experience. At the end of the year the children used the batik method to create stunning designs of Indian elephants.

The colourful batik elephant designs created by year four students at Grove Park Primary School
The children’s finished batik designs of Indian elephants, hung up in the corridor © Grove Park Primary School

Why is it important for children to learn about other people, places and cultures?

It is so important for children, especially those in primary school, to learn about other cultures. London is an incredibly multicultural city and the children are lucky to be exposed to such a variety of cultures. However, divisions still appear and this is due to lack of education and understanding.

Scarlett, a year four student at Grove Park Primary School in London, poses in her tiger-themed sari
Scarlett wore a sari inspired by her favourite animal – the Bengal tiger © Grove Park Primary School

Teaching children that people aren’t all the same, but that we all have an equal place in the world and this city, means that future generations will learn to love, respect and value each other’s differences. Children will learn that revelling in other people’s cultures does not in any way detract from their own.

Keen to get learning? Explore our free activity sheets and teacher resource packs.

Lonely Planet’s Around the World Fashion Sketchbook explores many of the planet’s most famous and iconic clothing styles. From the Indian sari to Scottish tartan, we take kids on a seriously stylish journey to discover the fashion, clothes and fabrics worn by different cultures around the world.

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