Monday, March 1, 2010

February at Wellsrping


Our world was expanded to faraway places this month as we began the World Cultures Program. China was our first destination in anticipation of the Chinese New Year. We located China on our flat map, large continents, and the globe while introducing the concepts of 2d and 3d mapping. We compared land mass and population with simple visual tools that we will use for all the countries we visit in the program. It is difficult to grasp a population of 1.3 billion over a land mass just slightly larger than the USA but our water bottles with proportional representation lead one child to say, “Wow, that’s a lot of people!” This led us to discuss the population centers and rural/urban housing. We discussed similarities and differences in growing up in the USA and China. We read a traditional fairy tale, The Seven Chinese Brothers, and a more modern The Seven Chinese Sisters. The older children were introduced to a Venn diagram as a way of seeing the differences and similarities in the stories. Many children seized the opportunity to make a life size 8th Chinese brother or sister with a unique power. We read stories about New Year customs, made paper lanterns, and received traditional red envelopes from a Trent family friend. Many children read about the Great Wall and then proceeded to build it out of boxes. Lastly, Ross spent a morning with us introducing Qigong, the Chinese art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movements, and meditation to strengthen and circulate life energy.

Our next destination was our northern neighbor, Canada, just in time for the Olympics. The children instantly connected with the excitement of the Olympics and athletic events. We related the Olympic rings to the continents and learned about the history of the games. Our population and land mass comparisons lend into a discussion on why the population centers border the US and the geography of Canada. Parvathi shared pictures and stories of growing up in Quebec. She taught the children to play jumpies, a game she played as young girl. Both Rohith and Abhijith shared their favorite things about visiting family in Canada. Parvathi shared a model totem pole and inspired several children to create parts of a totem pole from coffee cans. Lastly, Parvathi showed the Canadian citizenship cards for her and the boys while explaining dual citizenship. Thank you Parvathi for enriching this program with your personal experiences!

Next month we’re off to explore Bulgaria!

~Anne

Photo courtesy of flickr LizMarie under a Creative Commons license

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