Curriculum >> Continent Explorations

Continent Explorations

The focus of our continent explorations curriculum is to learn about and experience the diversity of human cultures across the globe. We hope that at each celebration a broad spectrum of cultures will be represented and will encourage you to dive deep into your own family roots as well as others. Talking with your child about family history, as well as learning together about new places and people, is a wonderful way to build an inquisitive and open mind.

Along with the following events, we will also be studying three continents in particular over the course of the school year. This year we will focus on North America, South America, and Africa.

Gratefulness Day: Potluck from Around the World

The fall harvest is a time to reflect and give thanks for the abundance of life our planet provides. Across the globe, communities gather together around food to share the joy of community. We look forward to spend the day talking to the children about gratefulness: what does it mean to be grateful? What are you grateful for? We enjoy this time of the year as it is a reminder to reflect on what is most important in our lives.

We ask that you contribute your time and efforts to make Gratefulness Day more meaningful for your child and their classmates. Please choose a culture or country that interests you and your child—we encourage it to be part of your own culture or family background! Explore with your child: what does the harvest look like in this particular culture? What types of food do children in that region look forward to? Decide on a dish that represents your family and the region you are exploring with your child. Please provide a small appetizer—enough for 18 children to have a taste of the dish. Remembers, no nuts! Please include a picture of a flag to represent the country the dish originated from and a small description of why your child chose this recipe. Be sure to mark your name on the dish as well so we can return it to you.

Peacemakers from Around the World

In January we are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In honor of his upcoming birthday, we will be reading books about his life and listening to audio excerpts from some of his iconic speeches and creating our art to commemorate his lasting legacy of peace. We will also be introducing other individuals who throughout history have dedicated their lives to peace. Our list includes: Dolores Huerta, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Dr. Maria Montessori and Malala Yousafzai.

Here’s where you come in: at home with your child please research a peace maker of your choosing. It may be a person from the past or a contemporary figure who has used nonviolent means to proactively advocate for others. On this day your child can bring to school a picture of a peace leader with a quote and a brief description of their accomplishments including country of origin. You can choose to learn more about the historical figures we are covering in class or to explore new names and histories. This a broad category and can include many people; feel free to include environmentalists, artists, scientists and others who have helped make this world a better place.

Art From Around the World

The spring season brings with it an explosion of the natural world as we witness the transformation with all our senses. We hear the songs of birds nesting, feel the wind as it rustles new leaves, and see the bright verdant green of spring emerging before our eyes. Art captures this metamorphosis is a unique way. Whether it be an impressionist landscape, street art, or an ancient artifact, we can always find nature’s influence. With your child please think of an artist or a style of art that best captures the spring awakening. Please bring in a photo of the art piece you explored with your child along with a photo of the artist (if it’s available) and a brief description of why you chose this piece. We will enjoy a day of creative expression as we learn about art from around the world.

21Summer Solstice: Music From Around the World

We will look to music to help learn about new cultures and will invite a special musical guest to play a mini concert in both of our classrooms. In the past, we have had visitors such as Amadou Diawara, a native from Senegal, perform a lively drum performance, and another performer, Michelangelo, play an interactive didgeridoo concert. Needless to say, the children loved both concerts and we are excited to choose our guest for this year!

If you would like to add to our experience and can share music from your family’s cultural background, we would love for you to bring in a sample (either on CD or flash drive) so we can play it for our children—and even better if you would like to create a short presentation around it! This can include pictures of people playing the instruments used to create the music or perhaps you own the instrument itself. If you play music, we would very much welcome a performance! The Putumayo series of music is a wonderful resource (­kids/) where you can find world music for kids and easy-to-sing-along songs.

Next:     School Calendar