It was raining today and the children were at their friends' house playing. So I spent another few hours in my classroom today. After the science/nature corner I tackled our cultural corner. You can see what it looked like before by clicking here. I have decided that the month of September will be dedicated to a topic called "we are all the same and we are all different" which goes hand in hand with our first theme of the year: "All about me" (I will write a post about this theme in a few weeks as we are about to start preschool again). This is why I will firstly concentrate on showing the globe to the children and teaching them to recognise our 7 continents. To do so I have put up on the wall a big picture of the continents (it is actually the control of error map used in connection with the Montessori geography puzzles) and have replaced the Asia and Australia jigsaws with the continents one and the one for Europe.
I have also added a new little game which will surely please the children. I recently found a book on Amazon called Sugar & Spice: Around the World. Initially, I thought this would be great as kids can discover cultural outfits in ten different countries and dress up Sugar and Spice in hundreds of outfit combinations. I was excited when it arrived home but was a bit disappointed with the whole presentation. You see, dolls and magnetic clothing come at the back of the book, which I do not find very practical at all So I photocopied each page and laminated them (tearing the pages was not an option as they are made out of thick cardboard). Then I placed everything in a see-through box, easy to open. This way the children can dress up the cardboard dolls much easier I find.
After the continents, we will then focus on Europe as this is our continent. I haven't got a set timetable as I like to be flexible in the way we learn. This year I have different nationalities in our classroom which will make it so much more interesting. Children will be invited to bring items from their parents' country (flags, stamps, photos, or even food). Studying Europe as our first continent should help to promote positive identities and a strong sense of belonging. It also should empower every child and to develop a confident self and group identity. From birth, children develop a sense of who they are. Relationships with family members, other adults and children, friends and members of their community play a key role in building their identities. Children’s sense of who they are is shaped by their characteristics, their behaviour, and their understanding of themselves, their family and others. Belonging is about having a secure relationship with or a connection with a particular group of people. When children feel a sense of belonging and sense of pride in their families, their peers, and their communities, they can be emotionally strong, self-assured, and able to deal with challenges and difficulties. This is going to be a sub-topic of our main theme "All about me".
I have more or less finished our Europe continent box. I am sure I will be adding more to it but so far I have 5 countries represented: obviously Ireland, France, Greece, Hungary and Holland.
Here are the few boxes I have in our cultural corner (Asia, Europe and USA)
Here you can see some stickers from Bretagne where I come from with a traditional hat. And of course, some wine bottles of Bordeaux!!!!
Hungary (chilli plant used in a lot of recipes over there, a traditional cards game, coins and the hungarian symbol - a blue bird)
Believe it or not but finding items for Europe have been trickier than I thought. But do not despair because I lately got involved in a cultural exchange organised by Melissa from Chasing Cherios. I got involved in a group of 11 other women around the world. There are other famillies from Singapore, Argentina, Australia, France and the UK... The exchange is supposed to benefit the children in each family and are addressed to them. Our first package arrived a few days ago from Ohio. Once my kids opened the parcel, they read the letter, played with the trinkets and whatever they didn't want, I was allowed to use for my box. Great, eh? Especially as I am currently working on my North America continent box. I will update you on this cultural exchange as soon as I have received more letters. And I should be able to post more on my continent boxes tomorrow. Blogging is wonderful, my dear friends, wonderful!!!