Activity time: 5 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Find out the correct ways to pronounce the non-English greetings that are not already familiar to you. If you like, learn some more.
Description of Activity
By learning how to say "hello" in a few different languages, children acquire a way to be hospitable to those who speak a language other than English.
Gather the children in a circle. Tell them:
John Murray immigrated to this country from England. He spoke English in England, so when he came to the United States he already knew how to understand and speak to people here though he was unable to speak to or understand Native Americans whose tribes spoke different languages. Most of our families, unless we are Native American, came from another country.
You may wish to ask if anyone in the group recently came to live in the United States from a country where a language other than English is spoken or if they know someone who did? Maybe children in the group speak another language at home, or know other children who do. Allow some responses; gently correct any misinformation that is presented.
Ask if anyone knows how to say "hello" in another language. If a child offers an example that you are confident is accurate, you may wish to teach it to the entire group.
Here are some ways to say "hello" in different languages that you can teach the group. Allow the children to practice each "hello" after you teach it.
- "hola" or "buenos dias" - Spanish
- "jambo" - Swahili
- "buon giorno" or "ciao" - Italian
- "konnichiwa" - Japanese
- "shalom" - Hebrew
- "al salaam a'alaykum" - Arabic
Invite the children to pass a multilingual "hello" around the group as they sit in a circle. Explain that each child will offer one of the non-English greetings to the person sitting on their right. The second child responds in kind, then turns to the child on their right and says "hello" in a different language. Start the game yourself by greeting the child sitting to your right, and end when the greeting comes back around to you.