We recently had the opportunity to interview the creators of one of our favorite sites for global learning, Joy Sun Bear. We even got Joy to answer a few questions himself!
Get ready to discover the world, different cultures and diversity through this educational and fun global learning website featuring a kind and adventurous sun bear.
GTK Can you tell us about Joy Sun Bear’s background, mission, and inspiration?
JSB Joy Sun Bear began as a way to help children learn more about cultures around the world, how they fit into it, and what they can do to help it. To do this, we knew we’d have to tackle some serious topics in a kid friendly format; topics like cultural relativism, personal awareness, and respecting each other.
So our team of three, all from diverse cultures and backgrounds, came together with one vision: to help create a world where children love and trust themselves, embrace the diversity in each other, and take action to take better care of the one planet we all share together.
We do this through the voice of an adventurous and lovable sun bear cub, Joy, that children can relate to. Joy Sun Bear hopes to teach kids emotional intelligence and cultural awareness through his stories and activities, igniting their curiosity to learn more about the world and other people. We want to help children build the ability to have compassion and relate to someone else, no matter what they look like, and open their minds to learn about the way they live their lives.
GTK So what do you offer now to do this and what are your plans for the future?
JSB Currently we have our website, where we have Joy’s travel adventures in the form of blogs. Each adventure has four blog entries where Joy discusses the country he’s visiting, covering everything from language and food, geography and games, culture and economy, celebrations and special locations, global issues, and other fun and interesting facts.
Everything is written as a story from Joy’s perspective, so kids have someone their age sharing these stories with them. Since this helps the children relate to the character, they better absorb the information and enjoy what they are learning!
The website also offers fun activities like coloring pages for each country that give a snapshot of Joy’s visit, international crafts, and recipes. Kids can also send Joy messages on our website under the Ask Joy Sun Bear portion of our website, and may even see his response to them on the page!
We also have created three fun and kid-friendly videos discussing valuable social-emotional topics like unity, respect and appreciation. We feel teaching children these important values at a young age helps build a loving, compassionate, and strong character that can help them throughout their lives.
The future for us will include a book series all about Joy’s magical adventures. We are super excited to share Joy’s global adventures through story books with kids and families! These books will focus not only on sharing cultures from around the world, but also some myths, legends, and social-emotional learning. Another exciting future development is an enhancement to our website that will make it more classroom friendly!
GTK We’d like to hear from Joy now if we can! Joy, can you describe a typical adventure?
Joy I can try, but there is no adventure that is typical because every country is unique and special in its own way! Some countries share parts of their culture with other countries, like food, language, or even some customs, but each country has it’s own special mix. Each place I go teaches me something new, and shows me how everyone on Earth can be unique, but also how we can all be similar.
When my adventure begins, I hop in my magical red air balloon and fly to the country I’m going to visit. Viracocha, the ancient Incan God of creation gave it to me so that I can travel the world and help everyone learn about each other. I usually land in the capital city so I can learn all about the language, culture, and economy. I always seem to be able to make friends while I’m there, too. That’s one of my most favorite parts of traveling, meeting new friends!
The rest of my visit is spent traveling around, seeing special places like natural wonders, special buildings, and fun events like parades and celebrations!
GTK Why is it important to learn about the world?
Joy Because we only have one! We all have to learn about our world and how to work together to keep it healthy and clean. The biggest thing that gets in the way of everyone working together is not understanding people that are different from you. If people can learn to respect each other, and not be afraid of someone who lives another way, they can find ways of working together.
I hope that by sharing my stories with kids (and even adults!), I can help them think about how they are similar to someone new that they meet, instead of how they are different.
GTK How can anyone help the world?
Joy I think the best thing anyone can do for the world is to know his or her self. The more we all understand ourselves and our culture, the more we can begin to understand others and their culture. If you want to understand others, you have to really understand yourself first!
Please check out our social media pages to learn more about us and have your kids embark on their own adventure as they “See the World with Joy!”
Thanks to Joy Sun Bear for participating in our mini series, Global Learning in the Elementary Classroom. Our goal is to provide educators with quality resources for teaching their students about world geography and cultures.
Catch up on other posts in the series:
Kid World Citizen shares 4 ways to introduce global learning into a classroom.
Little Songbird: Songs for Learning recommends lots of activities, books, and songs for teaching kids about world cultures.
Globe Trottin’ Kids highlights the need for children to learn about the world through their own exploration and play and features a round-up of learning resources.
Be sure to scroll down for our GIVEAWAY! Enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, and get started on your global classroom adventure.
- One lucky winner will get a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
- Two lucky winners will receive a copy of What Does It Mean To Be Global? by Rana DiOrio
- Three lucky winners will get a free download of Games Around the World, by Globe Trottin’ Kids.