My main goal for this unit is that Natalie understand that not everyone is like us. That there are people who live far away that have different clothes, eat different foods, speak in different ways, etc. She is very interested in the idea but I am trying to keep it light. She has grasped the idea that the pandas in the zoo didn't come from here but had to be brought here from far away and so now she is asking what else China has given us. I told her that they were the first people who learned how to make silk and that they were also the first people who learned how to make paper. She is processing this. I think she is finding it very interesting. Anyway, in one of the pictures a family is eating a big feast, and it shows them using chopsticks so that was a good transition for us and I showed her how to use the set I have. We washed and cut some strawberries into pieces and then she got to practice.
After this snack we read a book about a specific Chinese festival, Chinese New Year. It is called New Clothes for New Year's Day and is a SUPER book. It focuses on all the clothes the little girl is given for the new year, she puts them on slowly and explains how each is worn, you get to see lots of pictures of her bedroom, and it ends with a new snowfall for the new year. It's like she is chatting with you child-to-child, it is very subtle and doesn't scream, see, I am different from you! Look at me! See how my life is different?!? Natalie really loved it and was talking about Chinese clothes and I told her that the name of the place we live in is called America and our clothes are called American clothes. I think that was the first time she had ever heard that, at least, somebody saying, the name of the country you live in is called America. Maybe we'll actually talk about flags. She doesn't know anything about the American flag -- I keep wondering when it's going to come up, when she will see one flying on the roadside and ask about it. Maybe we can end the unit with a look at flags and talk about how this is one way people show their pride in their own country. The Montessori curric. has flag work for every country but I haven't done that because unless she understands the idea of a country, she'll never get what a flag is. This is the first time we've really discussed the concept of a country in any way. Anyway, we really enjoyed the Chinese New Year book and the illustrations are beautiful. To wrap up the "Festivals & Food" portion of our China week, I promised Natalie that we would stop and eat at a Chinese restaurant on our way to Ohio this weekend. So that should be a lot of fun!
After the entire Asia unit is done, I will post a complete booklist.