“We teach them about Native Americans, pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving and how they were on the boat for a long time and how hard it was,” Emerson Elementary School pre-K teacher Kali Robinson said. “They understand, but they don’t understand how it happened a long time ago.
“We’ve drawn a lot of pictures of what we think Thanksgiving means ... and what we’re most thankful for.”
According to www.georgiastandards.org, when pre-K students move on to kindergarten, they will work to “identify the purpose of national holidays and describe the people or events celebrated.” While the description of the standards may not sound all that exciting for kindergarteners, Allatoona Elementary School took an unconventional approach to meet the standards while having some fun along the way.
“We have talked about that [Thanksgiving] is a national holiday for America — our country. We have described that people wore different clothes, different shoes and ate different food,” AES kindergarten teacher Taunya Riddell said. “[We’ve discussed] the events leading up to [Thanksgiving] included a hard winter and at the end there was a celebration. This morning we’re having a non-traditional Charlie Brown ... celebration.”
Students enjoyed fare derived from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” which featured jelly beans, pretzels and popcorn.
Riddell said while students engage in hands-on activities surrounding the holiday, the standards for kindergarten do encourage cross-curricular teaching. To incorporate math with history and art, for example, AES kindergarteners wrote the numerals 1 to 20 on paper feathers.
“We really try to cross-curricular everything. The [English as a Second Language] children did an activity where they drew what they were thankful for in their second language. We’ve just tried to discuss all the customs and everything from the beginning [of the holiday],” Riddell said.
AES students said they enjoyed learning about the first Thanksgiving and how people lived in the 1620s.
“[We learned] Indians make their shoes out of animals,” kindergartener Alyssa Swing said.
Her classmate, Jerome Wiley, added, “We learned they had to hunt for food. [Today] we are doing a feast.”
He said his favorite part of the Charlie Brown feast was that “Snoopy makes the popcorn.” Swing said she enjoyed the jelly beans.