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INTRODUCTION 'Children Around the World' is a Project that was born from the curiosity that arose in the children from Pre-Kinder and Kindergarten Class from Discovery School after participating in the celebration of the United Nations Day. This celebration takes place every year at our school. Thirty-seven countries (number of nationalities represented in the school) are presented by the native families. They are in charge of setting up a display with music, food, art, pictures, and many other different aspects of their cultures. Through this project we want children to value their unique identity. Furthermore we want children to learn that people of all races and nationalities have many needs and abilities in common. We also want to honor each child for his/her cultural and ethnic uniqueness, because this positive valuing has a profound effect on increasing self-esteem, and we believe that positive self-esteem is vital in maintaining good mental health. Such acceptance and honoring of diversity helps children learn that different does not mean inferior, and that variety is richness. The basic learning should be that everyone is worthwhile, and that each child brings from his/her family special things that enrich the group and that are fun to share. In other words, we want to teach and reinforce that each child is special.


PROCEDURES We will apply the project approach. The 'Children Around the World Project' is a project that will involve the study and investigation of the different nationalities and cultures represented in our classrooms. The children will investigate about the festivals, songs, food and cooking, art, daily life, and customs of each country. We will begin with Honduras (host country). For two days the children will choose some aspect of the Honduran Culture and they will engage in different activities such as drawing, painting, listening to music, reading, cooking, playing games, dramatic play, etc. After studying the host country the children will investigate and learn about the nationalities that are represented within the classroom that school year.


PRELIMINARY PLAN The teacher will propose the topic to be investigated. The children will choose the topic based on their interests. The children will share experiences about their home country and the teacher will use this information to make a web. This web will be used for planning and recording the progress of this project.


PHASE 1 We will send a letter home to the parents to let them know what are we going to study and ask if they would like to help with the project in suggested ways. The list of suggestions will include: come into the classroom to read to the children in their native language, prepare a typical food with the children, play a traditional game of their country, teach traditional nursery rhymes to the children, at home, with their own child put together a display about important aspects of their culture, etc. The teacher will help the children to formulate questions about what they would be interested in investigating. A list of these questions will be compiled for investigation. The teacher with the help of the children will set up a Learning Center about the country being studied.


PHASE 2 The children will visit the library to gather all the possible information about the country, throughout posters, books, and videos. The teacher will read out loud the books to the children. The children will use this information to make posters that show aspects of the cultural richness of the country such as customs, traditions, music, food, art, etc. With the help of the teacher, the children will locate the country in a globe. We will discuss what the distance is between Honduras and the country of origin when you travel using different ways of transportation. The children will learn songs and play games traditional from each country. The children will listen to traditional stories or fairytales from that country. A Field Trip will be planned to the embassy of each country in order to provide the children with the opportunity to interview the ambassador with questions that have previously been asked by them. (If the embassy exists). Special guests will be invited that are native from the country being studied. (These special guests will have the opportunity to read stories, sing songs, play games that are originally from the country.) Children will be allowed to ask different questions. Parents will make a display with their child about their country. They will be encouraged to include pictures, customs, location, flag, etc. They will present it to the class on a specific day and time. Parents will be invited to prepare a traditional food with the class. The children will list differences and similarities among the cultures.


PHASE 3 A Culminating Event For two days, the children will choose different aspects of the country that was studied to illustrate. (Draw pictures) For each picture, they will provide a definition on their own words and will be recorded in writing by the teacher. The illustrations and the definitions will be put together to make a Dictionary for each country. For example: Tortilla: A round and flat food made out of corn flour. (The children draw a picture to illustrate this word.) Dictionaries will be published and displayed in the classroom and in the school library. A schedule will be created so that each child can take the dictionary home to share with his/her family.




TIMELINE 2005-2006 School Year


EXPECTED OUTCOMES Analyze and make changes in the curriculum, focusing on multicultural education. Develop respect for and responsiveness to cultural diversity. Give opportunities for the children to practice skills they already have and build new ones. Among these skills are: investigative skills, compare and contrast, language skills, fine motor, and social skills. Allow the children to bring their own knowledge to the project as well as acquire new knowledge. Parents will have to include among their responsibilities the commitment to participate in group activities in the classroom and at home with their children. Make parents, teachers, administration staff, and families of our school aware of the importance this project has for our school community. Encourage and motivate our colleagues to do projects such as this one to develop positive attitudes towards the different cultures that exist in our school.


MEASUREMENT OF OUTCOMES Make a checklist that will be based on the skills/content as expressed in the curriculum map of our school. Collect quality samples and evidence for the teachers to interpret the children’s learning. We expect to have the participation of at least 80% of our parents. (This is based on the policy of the school and the written commitment parents sign when enrolling their child). Make portfolios of the children’s work. Make an assessment instrument for each child to record of his/her learning. (Observation of group dynamics, motor skills, language skills, quality of interactions between parents and children, quality of interactions between peers and adults and the kinds and amounts of scaffolding different children need to participate, etc.) A simple rubric based on desired learning outcomes. Discussions, interviewing, and conferencing with students, parents and colleagues to obtain an insight on how much this project was beneficial for them. (Use of anecdotal records for individual observations.


DESCRIPTION (About Mentoring and Changing) Throughout this project we will be mentoring our colleagues, and parents of our students. We will teach them through workshops the advantages of the project approach and how projects can enrich young children’s dramatic play, construction, painting and drawing. This is done by relating these activities to real life outside school; and how this project work also offers older children the opportunity to do first hand research in science and social studies. It also offers the opportunity to represent their findings in a variety of ways. It is important for parents and teachers to realize that classrooms increasingly contain groups of children with a wide range of individual differences. For this reason, it is necessary to enrich our curriculum with activities that foster multicultural awareness. We want to teach them that the purpose of a multicultural curriculum is to attach positive feelings to multicultural experiences so that each child in our school will feel included and valued and will also feel friendly and respectful toward people of other ethnic and cultural group. Especially we want to work with families, because families play a central role in the socialization of young children. By implementing the project approach in this level, we will help children learn in different ways, address different learning styles, and build on the various backgrounds. We know that children achieve at a higher level in school if they are interested in what they are doing, and this way of learning becomes meaningful to them. We want families and colleagues to realize that the project approach offers the opportunity for the home and school to work together for a goal in common. By working cooperatively, we strengthen the social relationships between our school community.


REFERENCES The project approach Lilian G. Katz A Brief History of Paul C. Gorski, Hamline Multicultural Education University and EdChange The Whole Child Joanne Hendrick Karen Chandler

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