One way to introduce children in the classroom about different cultures is to celebrate different holidays that the other children have. Last week we celebrated Diwali which is the Festival of Lights in India. This festival signifies the triumph of good over evil but also signifies hope. One of our students helped us celebrate.
She wore her special clothes
and brought a sweet called “sheera” or “halwa” to share.
They also brought in special lamps to light
and a rangoli!
We learned that Diwali is all about colors and lights (and sweet treats!)
We continued our cultural studies by investigating Africa and Ancient Egypt. The afternoon children took a field trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to learn more about Ancient Egypt. https://www.lsa.umich.edu/kelsey/ This was extra fun and exciting because we took the bus there! A docent met our group and took us around the museum.
We saw real mummies and tombs.
We saw toys children used back then.
We looked at shoes, jewelry and oil lamps.
We looked a different types of pottery.
We had a great time at the Kelsey museum.
In the classroom we continued to explore and learn about Africa. We borrowed a “Civilization in a Crate” so the younger children could also be exposed to Ancient Egypt.
We also had many other African items to investigate.
Another way to learn about other cultures is to taste some of the food. The children helped to make couscous one day. They first chopped the veggies and added them to the couscous for a treat one day.
Finally, Lori from Drummunity came to see us again!
She showed us many different types of clothing and instruments. The children were able to explore and Lori helped explain what these instruments were made of and how to play them.
Two of our wonderful families are from India and helped teach us about Indian culture! They brought in beautiful clothes! (and a baby sister!)
They brought scarves and bindi for our children to wear. We also had a little dancing game to Indian music.
Special food was eaten.
They passed around different lentils to observe.
During the week we also made rangoli with colored sand as well as lentils!
When we studied Australia this year, we brought out objects that a former student brought from her trip. The children always enjoy looking at money and other cultural objects. We also look at pictures of animals from Australia.
We enjoy Australian dot painting every year.
Our friend Joel came to play his didgeridoo again for us this year. The children had SO many questions for him!
You can listen to the sound here:
A HUGE thank you to our parents and to our friend Joel for helping us to learn about different cultures!
Two of our wonderful parents came in today to talk about a Japanese holiday called Setsubun. In our Montessori classroom, we try to expose our children to different cultures and give them an idea or create an impression of people from other parts of the world. This helps them to become a citizen of the world!
Setsubun is celebrated on February third and Japanese people celebrate it to help bring in the spring. Several hundred years ago the Japanese believed that around Setsubun monsters or Ogres in the mountains came down to town. These monsters were called Oni.
People threw “Mame” or soybeans to drive the Oni away.
At school children wear Oni masks that they make and chase away pretend Oni who come to visit by throwing soybeans at them.
At the shrine, some people dress up like Oni and come out so all the people can throw soybeans at them. People also throw beans at shrines and temples after a special ceremony.
They brought Oni masks for all of the children to wear.
After the children throw the beans, they are supposed to eat the number of beans equal to their ages plus one. In Japan, they believe they can be happy and healthy if they eat the beans.
When throwing the beans, there is a chant they must do:
Oni wa soto! (Get out, Monsters!) Fuku wa uchi! (Come in, happiness!)
It was a very fun presentation and day! Thank you to Kana and Yoshiko for exposing us to this Japanese holiday!
We have been learning a bit about Japan this week at school as part of our Asia study.
Here is an art project involving making our own cherry tree blossoms.
We also had nori cutting as a food prep activity.
The afternoon children made furikake which is a Japanese seasoning to go on rice balls or Onigiri.
One of the fathers in our classroom is from Germany so we asked him to come in and share a little bit of Germany when we were studying Europe. Fabian showed us his lederhosen (leather pants).
He also showed us his Advent wreath and talked to us about the tradition.
Fabian also played and sang the wonderful song “Alle Meine Entchen” which means all my little ducklings. He said it is the first song German children play and learn to sing. Below is a clip.
Finally, as a treat, we were able to taste some pretzels as a nod to the German “bretzel.” Having lived in Germany these were not quite as good but still tasty for the children. We really enjoyed learning about Germany! Danke to Fabian!
As we study the continents up close, we wanted to take a look at Australia. On of our students visited family last year and brought us back souvenirs. We learned about the animals in Australia we don’t see here in the US. We also looked at some money and a boomerang. One fun thing to do was listen to a recording of a kookaburra bird.
We invited our friend Joel to come and play the didgeridoo for us. Below is a short clip:
We are lucky that one of our lovely parents hails from New Zealand! She came in to teach us about this fabulous country and give us some treats as well!
We looked at where New Zealand was on the map.
We also learned about the Maori people and their legend of how New Zealand came to be.
Our friend was wearing her Maori shirt with the 1-10 spelled out.
Kia Ora = Hi
Whanau = Family
Waka = Canoe
Georgie brought us DELICIOUS treats! First up were the ANZAC biscuits. It is a sweet cookie (biscuit in NZ) that originated in WW1 and were associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (hence, ANZAC).
We were also able to try her Pavlova. This was a dessert named after a Russian ballet dancer and was made for her when she visited Australia and New Zealand. It was also delicious!
The children spent several weeks focusing on the large continent of Africa. We always look closely at the beautiful Montessori continent maps but we also focused on sights and sounds of the continent.
First up, we studied ancient Egypt. The children made cat masks, colored various pages and some of the afternoon children made small pyramids. We read many books and looked at models of artifacts one might find there.
We also made African collars inspired by Kenya and Tanzania.
We had a great week studying France! The children had been studying the Europe map, euros and other objects from France. We have two students who speak French fluently and they helped to teach us new words and sing songs for us. When we learn about a country, we like to taste the food, see photos and objects and interact with people from the country if possible.
We are so lucky in Ann Arbor to have the amazing Zingerman’s! They generously donated croissants to us so we would have a taste of France!
THANK YOU to Zingerman’s Bakehouse for supporting AACH!
We thoroughly enjoyed our croissants!
YUMMY! Croissants from Zingerman’s!
The children enjoying!
We used a straight stitch and sewed a French flag.
Our French family had picked this up last summer while home for a visit. We learned how to say numbers, seasons, months and weather in French.
The children were able to enjoy a fun art project. Each day we had a different page from a book bought at the Louvre.
They trace their hand like the picture and use chalk pastels to color in. Some children wrote the name of the animal in French.
Thanks to Zingerman’s and all who helped to make our study of France so lovely!