Tuesday, November 7, 2017

History Lesson for Preschoolers: Pilgrims and Native Americans

Even young children associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans. However, are there ways to present the Thanksgiving story in a way that's culturally sensitive, accurate and age-appropriate? The good thing to know about this is that it is possible, and by taking these ideas into account when discussing Thanksgiving with your child, he or she will be more likely to have a better understanding of what the day is about.
Among other things that your child will learn, he or she will:
  • Learn a greater respect for those who differ from them
  • Appreciate the value of offering help to and accepting help from others
  • Have a greater understanding of the idea of giving thanks

Read Some Books About Thanksgiving

Two helpful, age-appropriate books for preschoolers are "The Story of Thanksgiving" by Nancy J. Skarmeas and "The First Thanksgiving" by Lou Rogers. Both of these books are age-appropriate and have colorful illustrations that help make everything come to life.

After reading the books, take some time to talk to your child about what he or she learned. Depending on your child's age and curiosity level, you might want to think about discussing why we use the term Native Americans, why the Pilgrims came, and how the local tribes might have helped them find food.

Make a Fun Treat

Preschoolers will appreciate learning about how Squanto taught the Pilgrims to plant corn, especially when taught using an edible example. To do this:
  • Put some chocolate pudding into small cups with crumbled graham crackers on top to represent dirt
  • Place a piece of candy corn into the cups to represent corn seed, with a goldfish cracker or Swedish fish to stand in for the fish used as compost
  • Cover the candy corn and fish with the "dirt", then serve

Discuss Thanksgiving Foods

A preschooler should be able to name the foods they like the most on Thanksgiving. As they name the foods they like, help them learn to categorize them.
  • Is it a type of meat? Explain how Native Americans and Pilgrims hunted for some meats because there were no stores.
  • Are certain foods fruits or vegetables? Tie this in with your earlier corn-related activity and explain that early Americans grew certain foods that we buy now.
  • Discuss certain Thanksgiving favorites that people like now that wouldn't have been present at the first Thanksgiving meal. This can be a good way to discuss the importance of traditions.

Taking time to discuss Native Americans and Pilgrims is a great way to help your child appreciate the significance of the holiday.  At Montessori Children's House, we teach students about every holiday using hands-on and interactive learning techniques.  We enjoy teaching our students through history and encourage them to learn more about holidays through their families own unique traditions.  Contact us today to see our hands-on teaching approach firsthand.

Author: verified_user