Students learn about multicultural holidays celebrated in winter: Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year.
St. Lucia Day
- Celebrating Winter
- World map
- Nine days to Christmas
- Sangrias drink ingredients
- Paper sacks
- Crepe paper
- Tissue paper
- Wrapped candy
- Salsa & chips
- Markers/colored pencils
- Celebrating Winter
- World map
- Construction paper
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Obara the Merchants
- Obara the Gatekeeper
- The Story of Kwanzaa
- My First Kwanzaa Book
- Kwanzaa Place Mat
- Hand-some Kinara
- Red, black, green,
brown & yellow paint
- Markers/colored pencils
Chinese New Year
- Celebrating Winter
- World map
- Lion Dancer: Ernie
Wan's Chinese New
- Paper plates
- Dragon Dance
- My First Chinese New
- Pom Poms
- Paper scraps
- Crepe paper
- Lively music
- Craft sticks
- Fortune cookies
- Marker/colored pencils
Eight Nights of Hanukkah, by Judy Nayer; ISBN 0-439-69383-7
Eight Lights for Eight Nights, by Debbi Herman & Ann Koffsky; ISBN 10: 0764126008
Happy Hanukkah, Biscuit! by Alyssa Satin Capucilli; ISBN 10: 0060094699
D is for Dreidel, by Tanya Lee Stone; ISBN 10:0843145765
The Colors of my Jewish Year, by Mari Gold-Vukson; ISBN 10:1580130119
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes, by Linda Glaser; ISBN 10:0807508
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblin, by Eric A. Kimmel; ISBN 10:0823411311
The Seven Days of Kwanzaa, by Melrose Cooper; ISBN 978-0439-5746-6
Together for Kwanzaa, by Juwanda G. Ford; ISBN 0-439-82959-3
A Kwanzaa Miracle, by Sharon Shavers Gayle; ISBN 0-439-69003-X
My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz; ISBN 10:080507077X
The Story of Kwanzaa, by Donna L. Washington; ISBN 10:0064462005
Kwanzaa Fun: Great Things to Make and Do, by Linda Robertson; ISBN 0-7534-5685-0
Obarand the Gatekeeper, by Michelle Bodden; ISBN 10:0975308904
Obara the Merchants, by Michele Bodden; ISBN 10:0975308912
Nine Days to Christmas, by Marie Hall Ets. & Aurora Labastida; ISBN 10:0140544429
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year, by Joan Holub; ISBN 10: 012400009
My First Chinese New Year, by Karen Katz; ISBN 10:0805070761
Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year, by Kate Waters & Martha Cooper; ISBN
Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah, by Susan L. Rothl; ISBN 10:0439908728
Festival of Lights, retold by Maida Silverman; ISBN 0689830831
My First Kwanzaa Book, by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate; ISBN 0439129265
On the First Night of Chanukah, by Cecily Kaiser; ISBN-10: 0439758025
Another Trip Around the World, by Leland Graham, and Traci Brandon; ISBN 044222-
Resources for Creative Teaching in Early Childhood Education 2nd Edition, by Darlene Softley
Hamilton/Bonnie Mack Flemming; ISBN 0-15-576652-X
Learning about Cultures, by John Gust, M.A. and J. Meghan McChesney; ISBN 978-1-57310-
Creative Resources for the Early Childhood Classroom, by Judy Herr and Yvonne Libby
Larson; ISBN 10: 1-4283-1832-1
Celebrations, by Anabel Kindersley & Barnabas Kinderslay; ISBN 10:07894202
Kwanzaa Fun, by Linda Robertson & Julia Pearson; ISBN 978075345685
Social Studies, the Mailbox Magazine; ISBN 10 #1-56234-645-8
Arts and Crafts, by the Education Center, Inc.; ISBN 1-56234-32-6
Sing a Song of Seasons, the Mailbox; ISBN 13: 978-156234498-6
Background for Teachers
Children everywhere love holidays/celebrations -- days set aside
for a break in routine, special fun and surprises, delicious treats, and
a time to be with close friends, relatives and neighbors. Religious,
seasonal, and patriotic holidays and celebrations vary with the
customs, history, environment, and traditions of countries around
the world. One way the world becomes smaller and people begin to
develop respect, acceptance and understanding of others is by sharing
celebrations of everyday life. Helping children discover how children
everywhere are alike and can work and play together leads to multi-
cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Very young children do not always comprehend the history or
deeper meaning involved in other cultures' celebrations, but they can
learn the name of the celebration and begin to understand some of
the outward symbols for the inner meanings. Children can learn that
not everyone believes the same thing, and that we must respect each
person's right to individual beliefs. As children learn of customs and
celebrations, they can learn that they all have some beliefs in common
and some that differ. Five different Winter Celebrations will be
addressed, giving the children opportunities to experience games, art,
music, and stories of different cultures.
On December 13th, many Christian countries in Europe celebrate
St. Lucia Day. The story behind the holiday is of a young girl who
lived over 1700 years ago. She would not deny Christianity, so she
was punished--her eyes were put out and she was put to death by the
Romans. She was subsequently made a saint. In Sweden, a young girl,
usually the oldest daughter, dresses up in a long white dress tied with
a red sash and a leaf covered crown of candles. On the morning of
December 13th, she and other costumed children awaken their family
members with a tray of coffee and pastries. St. Lucia Day is celebrated
in Sweden, Finland, Italy, and the Caribbean.
Hanukkah, a festival of light, comes in late November or December
and begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislet. The Hebrew
calendar is a lunar one, so the exact date of Hanukkah varies each year.
Hanukkah celebrates religious freedom for the Jews. Antiochus, a
Syrian king, drove the Jews from their temple in Jerusalem and ordered
them to worship Greek gods or be put to death. The Jews fought back
and finally regained Jerusalem and set about purifying their temple,
which the Syrians had defiled. When it was ready, they proclaimed a
holiday and called it Hanukkah, which means "dedication." There is
a legend about the first Hanukkah that relates how only one little jar
of oil was found to light the holy lamp in the temple for the festival. It
should have lasted only one day, but it lasted eight days. Hanukkah
is celebrated for eight days. Candles are lit each night in a special
candleholder called a menorah (meh-nor-ah). A candle known as the
Shamash (shah-mush) is a ninth candle in the center that is higher
than the other four on each side, and is lit every night. Families enjoy
eating potato pancakes called latkes (lot-kuhs). Children like to play
games with a dreidel (dray-dull). The dreidel is a four--sided top with
Hebrew letters on each side representing the words in the phrase "A
Great Miracle Happened There." Gifts are generally given to children--
one each night. Frequently bags of chocolate coins covered with gold
foil are in favor in American families.
The Posada celebration is way of celebrating Christmas in Mexico.
The posada, is a re-creation of Mary on a donkey and Joseph searching
for a room at the inn. Accompanying them is a choir of small children
who knock on doors asking for lodging for the weary couple. The
procession, which takes place during the 12 days before Christmas,
moves along, growing in numbers, until it reaches the church, where
mass is held. After the service, the children get to enjoy a festive
piñata party. The Posada is an enactment of looking for lodging of
St. Joseph and Virgin Mary, called the Pilgrims going to Bethlehem
for the Census according to the Bible. Each family in a neighborhood
will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting
on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th. Every home will
have a Nativity scene. The hosts of the home are the innkeepers, and
the neighborhood children and adults are looking for lodging. They
will ask for lodging in three different houses but only the third one will
allow them in. Once the innkeepers let them in the group of guests
come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray. After
all the prayer is done, then it comes time for the children's party. There
will be a Piñata, filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines,
and sugar canes. The children in turn will try to break the Piñata with
a stick while blindfolded.
Kwanzaa (keb-wahn-zab) is a holiday that was created for Afro-
Americans by Dr. Malana Karenga in 1965 to help focus on the
richness of their African culture and reinforce the need for Black
unity and self-determination. At the heart of Kwanzaa is the "Nguzo
Saba" or seven principles of daily living, that Dr. Karenga found in
the African harvest festivals he had studied. Kwanzaa is celebrated
from December 26th to January 1st. Each night, a candle is lit and a
principle discussed. The last night, a Karamu (feast) is held.
The Seven Principles of Daily Living
- Nguzo Saba umoja (oo-MO-jah) -- unity, we help each other.
- kujichagulia (KOO-jee-cha-go-LEE-ah) -- self-determination,
we decide things for ourselves.
- ujima (oo-JEE-mah) - cooperation, we work together to make a
- ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH) -- sharing by all, we must share what we
- nia (NEE-ah) -- purpose, we have a reason for living.
- kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) -- creativity, we need to use creativity
in making our world more beautiful.
- imani (ee-MAH-nee) -- faith, we believe in ourselves, our
ancestors, and our future.
Chinese New Year (Yuan Tan) is celebrated on the first day of
the new moon, which varies from January 21 to February 19. The
Chinese celebrate this day to show their appreciation for the previous
safe and happy year and to wish for another prosperous year to come.
The first day of this religious and historical celebration is dedicated
to worshipping ancestors and Buddha and to praying for happiness,
prosperity and good fortune. The following 14 days are filled with
parades, fireworks, gift giving, feasting and dancing. Red is the symbol
of happiness to all Chinese. This color is always used for New Year's
decorations. Friends exchange greetings in red envelopes. On this
holiday, children receive gifts of money from older people, such as
their grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles. The gift money is given
in red envelopes, often with gold lettering or pictures on them. It is
important to Chinese children and their parents to wear new clothes,
especially new shoes, on New Year's Day to bring good luck. A lion
dance or dragon dance performed by adults is an important part of this
New Year's parade.
Intended Learning Outcomes
2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility.
3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behavior.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Students will be given a brief overview of the celebration that will
be covered during the next two months. They will then be given a
"Celebrating Winter Holidays" Journal. The journal has calendars
and symbols for each of the winter holidays we will be talking about.
The students will color in the dates on the calendar; illustrating the
month and days the celebration takes place. Students will write their
name on the front, decorate the cover, and save it to be used after
each celebration lesson. This journal will be used as an assessment
at the end of each celebration discussion.
- Gather the children together and show them the world map.
Point out the country of Israel.
- Have them find Israel on their journal World Maps and mark
- Share that a long time ago, over two thousand years, the Jewish
people there fought against an army to take back their Temple,
or house of worship. They cleaned and fixed the Temple and
polished the lamp of the Eternal Light. The flame had been put
out by the army. Only enough olive oil could be found to light
the lamp for one day. A miracle happened and the lamp stayed
lit for eight days!
- Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish Celebration, commemorating
"the miracle of the oil." The "Festival of Lights" holiday is full
of songs, games, stories, and presents. Jewish people around
the world celebrate Hanukkah by lighting one candle each of
the eight nights of Hanukkah until all are lit on the last day
of the holiday. The special lamp of eight candles is called a
menorah. Show the students a picture of a menorah.
- Read one of the informational Hanukkah Books like Eight
Nights of Hanukkah or Festival of Lights. List all the things that
they learned from the book on the dry erase board.
- Food Experience: Share the Tasty Menorahs with the children.
- While the children eat the Tasty Menorahs, read the "Eight
Little Candles in a Row" poem. Have it printed on an
- Then read a story book like Herschel and the Hanukkah.
- Show the children a dreidel or a picture of a dreidel. Ask them
to notice the letters. Are they the same letters we use? Share
with the students that during Hanukkah, friends and family
gather and eat traditional foods, such as latkes, applesauce,
or jelly-filled doughnuts Latkes are fried potato pancakes.
Children sometimes exchange gifts and receive "Hanukkah
Geit," or coins. They also play the dreidel game by spinning
a top with four flat sides. Demonstrate how to play the game
with three children, plus yourself (four players in all).
- Teach the students the song "I Have a Little Dreidel."
- Give each student a copy of the card stock dreidel. Have them
cut it out. Demonstrate how to push the pencil through the
hole. Show the students how to spin the dreidel like a top by
holding the top of the pencil and spinning it on a flat surface.
The tip of the pencil will make contact with the flat surface.
Play until one player wins everything and the other players have
- Divide the students into groups of four. You may want to have
a small square of cardstock underneath to protect the tabletops.
Allow children to play.
a. Each player puts two of their objects into the center "pot".
Give each player a turn to spin the dreidel (like a top). The
letter that is facing up when the dreidel stops tells what the
player must do:
- Nun - do nothing
- Gimel - take all objects from the pot
- Hay - take half the pot
- Shin - put one object in the pot.
If the pile is empty, or has only one penny, each player puts
in one penny before the next spin.
- After they have played the game a few times, pass out the game
and rules for playing the game for the children to take home to
play with their family. Have this copied on card stock.
- Sing the song "Light the Candles Bright" (sung to: The Farmer In
- Have the students draw and record in their journal about the
celebration of Hanukkah.
St. Lucia Day
- Many Countries in Europe Celebrate St. Lucia Day. We
are going to talk about the celebration as it takes place in
Sweden. Find Sweden on the class world map, and have the
students mark their world map in their celebration journal.
- Explain the story of St. Lucia to the students. St. Lucia Day
is celebrated on December 13. The story behind the holiday
is of a young girl who would not deny Christianity so she was
put to death by the Romans.
In Sweden, a young girl, usually the oldest daughter,
dresses up in a long white dress tied with a red sash, and
places a crown of evergreens adorned with glowing candles
on her head. It is her task to serve coffee and special twisted
buns with raisins to her family at daybreak. The buns
are twisted into different shapes. The lights represent the
breaking of the winter spell and bringing light into the world.
St. Lucia is followed by her brothers, who are dressed in
white and wear pointed hats with silver stars. They are called
"star boys." Her sisters wear white robes too, but have tinsel in
their hair. They are called "Lucia Maidens."
This ceremony is to assure the family that beginning on this
day (the shortest, darkest day of winter) the days will begin to
be longer again. It also reminds them that Christmas is near.
Some call it Little Christmas.
- Have the girls make a crown of candles. To make a crown use
a pattern of five green leaf shapes on construction paper and
five yellow candle flames on construction paper. Cut out the
patterns. Glue each flame cutout to the candle pattern on white
construction paper to create a candle; then glue each candle to
the straight end of a leaf cutout. Arrange the candle-adorned
leaves end-to-end. Glue the pieces together by attaching a leaf
tip to the bottom of each of the first four candles. When the
glue has dried, size the resulting crown to fit the head of the
intended wearer; then staple the crown ends together.
- Have the boys make a star-studded hat. To make a hat, begin
with a semi-circle of white bulletin-board paper -- diameter
approximately 28 inches. Overlap the two corners of the paper
until a cone is formed. Size the opening to fit the head of the
intended wearer; then staple the hat seam. Decorate the hat with
yellow paper stars from the star pattern and gold glitter.
- Have each child wear a decorative head wreath or hat as they
serve themselves a pastry from a tray passed from child to child.
- Have students draw and record in their journals about the St.
Lucia Day celebration.
- Begin by reading the book, Nine Days to Christmas. In this story
a little girl excitedly prepares for her first "posada". The book
clearly explains the meaning of the celebrating ("posada" means
shelter, and during the posada procession the participants are
symbolizing the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem) and
this will set the purpose for the rest of the unit.
- Show the students where Mexico is on the class world map.
Then have the children locate it on their own world maps. List
on the dry erase board the things they learned from the book as
the children recall them.
- Have a Mexican food experience. Salsa & chips are easy. You
can also have a simple Mexican drink (Sangrias for kids)
- 1⁄2 cup grape juice
- 1⁄4 cup orange juice
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup Sprite or 7up (depending on how bubbly you
OPTIONAL: maraschino cherry and/or orange slice
Mix ingredients, add ice cube and serve! YUM!
- Dramatize the posada by going from class to class in the
kindergarten wing, asking for shelter. Prepare the other classes
ahead of time for best results. Be turned away by class after
class. Finally, return to our classroom for a party celebration,
complete with a piñata.
- You can purchase a piñata or have the children help make 4
different ones in centers by making simple paper bag piñatas.
To do this fill a paper grocery bag with wrapped candies and
newspaper. Decorate the bag with brightly colored, fringed
crepe paper or tissue paper. Cut small slits in the bag to
weaken it before students whack at it with a yardstick.
- Have children draw and record in their journals about the
- Unlike the other holidays we have talked about, this
celebration is not a religious holiday. Kwanzaa is an African
American celebration that focuses on the traditional African
- Find Africa on the classroom world map.
- Read The Story of Kwanzaa.
- Explain that Kwanzaa is based on seven guiding principles,
one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from
December 26th to January 1st. Each principle is symbolized
with a candle. A kinara is the candle holder that holds the
seven candles. Each night, a candle is lit and families talk
about one of the seven principles. Candles play an important
role in the Kwanzaa celebration. On the first night of
Kwanzaa, the black candle is lit. On each night thereafter,
an additional candle is lit, alternating red and green until the
entire Kinara is glowing on the final night of Kwanzaa.
These seven candles represent the seven principles which
are 1) unity, 2) self-determination, 3) collective work and
responsibility, 4) cooperative economics, 5) purpose, 6)
creativity, and 7) faith. Show the Kinara picture.
- Read My First Kwanzaa Book.
- Explain that the colors of Kwanzaa are black for the face of the
African people, red for the blood of the people shed, and green
for the hope and the color of the motherland.
- Paint a "Handsome" Kinara.
- A Mkeka mat traditionally holds the fruits and vegetables of the
harvest and is an integral part of the Kwanzaa celebration.
- Show the students how to make a Mkeka mat using the 3
- Have a Kwanzaa party using the Mkeka mats. Serve fruits and
vegetables, representing the harvest.
- Read Obara the Merchants or Obara the Gatekeeper (African Folk
- Have the students draw and record what they learned about the
Chinese New Year
- Chinese New Year begins in late January or early February
and includes outdoor parades and fireworks. The date of the
Chinese New Year's Day changes each year because it is the first
day of the lunar calendar. It varies from January 21 to February
- Find China on the class world map.
- Read My First Chinese New Year.
- A lion dance is performed to scare away evil spirits and to bring
good luck for the New Year. Read Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's
Chinese New Year.
- Have the students create their own lion masks to be used in the
class Lion Dance.
Give each child a paper plate that has two eyeholes cut out
of it. Have him color his mask; then invite him to decorate
his mask by gluing on a variety of craft items, such as colorful
feathers, sequins, pom poms, and paper scraps and streamers.
After the glue dries, help each child tape a wide craft stick
securely in place.
- Play some lively music while the children wear their masks and
perform their own versions of the Lion Dance. The children
will have a roaring good time.
- Give each child a Fortune Cookie. Put your own fortunes in
them that would be more applicable for their age group.
- Read Dragon Dance.
- Have the students draw and record what they learned about the
Chinese New Year celebration.
- Make Play dough Menorah.
- Roll out piece of play dough and press to form base.
- Place a large candle in center and four birthday candles on
each side of the large candle.
- Let the finished menorah dry for two or three days, then
paint it in bright colors.
- Play the game Hide the Chocolate Gelt. When the children are
out of the room or busy with an activity, hide the chocolate
gelt around the room. Just before it's time to go home, tell the
children that there is a treat hidden around the room for each of
- Latkes, Jelly Doughnuts, and Hanukkah Cookies are yummy
Hanukkah party treats. You can buy the Jelly Doughnuts,
Hanukah cookies can be your favorite homemade cookies, and
Latkes are potato pancakes.
- 6-8 medium potatoes
- 1⁄2 medium onion
- 3 large eggs
- 1⁄4 c. flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
Using a cheese grater or food processor, grate 6-8 potatoes
to yield 6 cups. Drain off the extra liquid. Grate 1⁄2 onion. Mix
the grated potatoes and onion with the eggs and flour. Season
with salt and pepper. Preheat oil in a skillet and drop your
batter by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry until brown on the
edges, then flip and fry the other side. Serve while still warm.
Warm latkes and cold milk or apple sauce go really good
- If you have the class make Latkes, teach them the "Latkes are
Frying in the Pan" song.
Come and Spin the Dreidel
(Tune: The More We Get Together)
Oh, come and spin the dreidel the dreidel, the dreidel,
Oh, come and spin the dreidel the dreidel, the dreidel,
You might have to give some.
Oh, Come and spin the dreidel and see what you get.
Hanukkah is Here!
(Tune: "Mary Had a Little Lamb")
Let's light the menorah, menorah, menorah,
Let's light the menorah, menorah, menorah,
One candle each joyous night, joyous night, joyous night.
One candle each joyous night, for
Hanukkah is here!
Latkes, games, and family, family, family.
Latkes, games, and family, for Hanukkah is here!
Let's light the menorah, menorah, menorah.
Let's light the menorah, for Hanukkah is here!
- Have a Kwanzaa party. Decorate room in red, black, and green.
Ask a parent familiar with the holiday to assist you.
- Use a tracer to have the students make a Luciadagen crown.
To make a crown, fold a nine-inch paper plate in half. Place
the straight edge of the tracer on the center of the fold and
trace around the rest of the shape. With the plate still folded,
cut along the lines to cut out the interior shape -- the candles.
Next, color the wreath and the candles. Then, glue on pieces of
torn tissue paper to represent leaves on the wreath and flames
on the candle. When the crown is dry, fold the candles back so
they stand up.
- Find a recording of the "Mexican Hat Dance" and teach
the children a simplified version of the dance. www.
- Make a class created dragon. In a large open area, display a
length of white bulletin-board paper. If you plan to have eight
groups of students working on the project, visually divide
the length of paper into seven equal sections and label each
one with a different number from 1-7. On another length of
bulletin-board paper, sketch a large dragon head. Label this
section no. 8. Assign a small group of students to paint each
section. Provide the same colors of paint for each group and
encourage student creativity. When the paint has dried, cut out
the dragon head and trim one end of the long paper length to
resemble a dragon tail. For added interest, make a wavy cut
along each side of the resulting dragon body. Then glue the
dragon head to the dragon body.
- Make Chinese Lanterns. Have students draw pictures on a
12"x18" piece of construction paper. Draw a line 1" from the
edge of the side of the paper opposite the fold. Then, have the
students cut slits 1" apart from the fold to the line. Open up
the paper. Roll with the slits running up and down and staple
the ends together. To make handle punch two holes in the top
of the lantern on opposite sides. Bend a pipe cleaner about 1"
from each end. Poke the pipe cleaner through the holes and
twist it around itself to make a handle. Staple crepe paper
streamers to the bottom. Have the student parade around the
- Send home instructions for families to make a homemade
Menorah. Explain that Jewish families use a special, nine-
pronged candelabra, called a menorah, to light candles every
night for the eight nights of Hanukkah. The ninth candle,
which stands higher than the others, is the shammash, or
servant candle. It is used to light the other candles so,
technically, you light two candles on the first night, three on
the second night and so on). It is customary for the candles to
be placed in the menorah from right to left and lit from left to
right. Making a menorah from self-hardening clay is an easy,
fun project for kids to try. When it is complete, se the menorah
on a windowsill for all to admire. Share a variety of options for
teachers to explore and use for extending learning at home.
- Make Star of David home decorations. Form a triangle with 3
Popsicle sticks and glue them together. Form another triangle
the same way. Glue the two triangles together in the form of
a Star of David. Draw squiggly lines on the star with glue, and
sprinkle with blue glitter if you wish. Hang the stars around
your home with ribbon.
- Have children will explore their family heritage. In preparation
for the activity, have children ask their parents and relatives
to list the countries where their ancestors were born. A large
map of the world will be displayed on a bulletin board. Provide
colored stickers, big enough for child's name and the name of
the selected country. If you don't have enough space on the
map for all the stickers, pin one large-headed thumbtack into
each country and use yarn to connect each thumbtack to an
index card. Staple the index cards around the border of the
world map. Use a piece of yarn to connect each child's sticker
to his or her index card. If you have used thumbtacks rather
than stickers for any countries have each child write his or her
name on the index card. Have children share with the class the
information they researched.
- Ask parents to share records or tapes of African music for the
children to enjoy.
- Ask families that have ties to any of the different cultures to
visit the class and share some of their traditions.
- In China, each year is represented by one of 12 animals.
Each animal in turn represents a positive personality
characteristic that is believed to be shared by all people born
in those years. Give the chart to the students to take home
to familiarize themselves with the animals and to see what
animal corresponds to the year that they were born. They
can also have some fun finding out the years of their parents',
grandparents', brothers', sisters', friends' or relatives' birthdays
and determining the matching animal.
- Were the children able to listen to and understand the different
traditions of other culture celebrations?
- Did the children listen to the stories, and were they able to
relate to the information from the stories?
- Did the children play cooperatively in their small groups?
- Did the children understand and follow the rules of the games?
- Were the children engaged and on task the entire time while
working in groups?
- Were the children able to locate the countries on their own
world maps by looking at the class world map?
- Were they able to illustrate in their journals and express what
they learned about each celebration?
- Did the children understand the character connections of the
African Folk Tales?
- Were the children able to respond to the rhythm of the music
- Were the children able to follow the rhythm of the music and
sing the songs?
- Were the children able to follow directions and make the crafts
on their own?
Spellikngs, M., (2006) Secretary of Education remarks at S. University Presidents Summit on
International Education in Washington, D.C. Retrieved January 25, 2008 from http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2006/01/01062006.html
Education teaches more than students. It teaches all of us to see
beyond our borders and boundaries, both real and imagined. It teaches
us to overcome stereotypes and appreciate cultures other than our
own. In so doing, it gives us hope for a brighter future by advancing
freedom, opportunity and understanding.
Seefeldt (1977). Social Studies for the Pre-School Child. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/
Young children, through activities involving relationships with
others, cooperative group experiences, and many forms of firsthand
experiences, can develop awareness of: 1) the interdependency of
humans on one another, (2) the cultures of our world, and (3) the
similarities between people everywhere. (p. 153)