We love when we can bring expert voices to masalamommas and get the experts in our cultural community to share their best advice or tips. This month, author, teacher Navjot Kaur, well-known for her tools on Sikh heritage and Vaisakhi, shares her top 5 favourite ideas for kids when it comes to sharing Vaisakhi at home.
Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is an ancient harvest festival held in the Punjab region which is used to mark the beginning of a new solar year, and new harvest season. These celebrations are held on the 13th April, and occasionally on 14th April of each year. This day is marked by Sikh devotees who attend the Gurudwara before dawn with flowers and offerings in hands. It was started about 300 years ago and is now held by some Indian nationals’ worldwide.
Many of us first learn about our traditions from our own parents and it’s what we feel, see and take from them that compel us to want to impart some of what we learn onto our own children.
Navjot Kaur, an award-winning author and elementary teacher, said she found it challenging to find suitable resources to educate and engage school-aged children on Vaisakhi. She shares her favourite resources this month.
Five of my Favourite Ideas for Vaisakhi
What was important about choosing these resources was to ensure that they were created by #OwnVoice artists. I wanted each resource to be culturally relevant and have authentic experience behind the creations.
- Playing with Painti Vaisakhi boxFirst of all, what I love about this company is that it is Canadian! It’s female-owned and the creator has a background in education. The activities in each box are well thought out and engaging for children.
2. Crafts: Kiddie Sangat This site has so many activities to choose from. Again it has a female driving force, which is always wonderful to support. If you browse over at “We Recommended” you will find more resources to consider, including bi-lingual books.
3. Quilling for kids: I came across this quilling activity and thought it would be fun to do during Vaisakhi. It reflects more of the cultural activities like harvesting wheat, and Bhangra dancing. This company, Oak Arts, is based in New Delhi and seems to work like a co-operative. I was drawn to their commitment to giving back by working with NGOs for children.
4. Children’s book: Vaisakhi, is a children’s book published by another Mum, Deep Kaur. Although I have not yet read this one, I know the work of the illustrator, Keerat Kaur, who is a force of talent, and so have included this resource. And they’re both Canadian!
5. Countdown to Vaisakhi: If you follow my work, you will be familiar with my original Countdown to Vaisakhi resource. I recently updated it to show 8 Activities to Include Vaisakhi for Culturally Relevant Classrooms. The Garden of Peace could be used as a mentor text to encourage interactive conversations
More about the author:
Navjot Kaur is the trailblazer behind Saffron Press – an independent publisher dedicated to inspiring little warriors of change. She advocates for diversity in children’s literature that reflects fair and accurate representation. Saffron Press is cultivating a place for these stories to grow.Born and raised in England and of Sikh-Panjabi heritage, Navjot Kaur is fascinated and inspired by diverse environments and culture. Her children’s book, A Lion’s Mane, won the 2010 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Multicultural and International Awareness. She believes that our children can become advocates for social change and uses her writing as a way to inspire them to become responsible, global citizens.
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