Often times, lessons to help kids learn about other countries are geared toward older children. This is a lesson plan to present a new country to kids as young as preschool- in a way that they will remember! They will explore and learn about other countries using their five senses: seeing, touching, listening, tasting, and smelling their way to discover a new place. I recently presented this lesson about Ethiopia in my son’s preschool class, and the kids loved it. It can be easily adapted to any country, with a bit of research.
Gandhi is attributed as saying “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” If one of our goals as parents is to raise compassionate and responsible children, our children need to witness empathy, kindness, and respect towards others… and put these character traits into action. Families that do community service not only offer their children a view of different perspectives, but give them the opportunity to take action, and in a sense change the world. Continue reading
“We have kids from Nicaragua, Guam, and Africa in my class…”
“We made masks from China, Peru, and Africa…”
“He is been to England, Africa, and Italy”
I have a pet peeve. It makes my skin crawl when I hear people referring to Africa as a country, instead of an immensely diverse continent. Did you know Africa has well over 2000 languages and innumerable ethnic groups, in its 54 countries!? My goal is to help parents and teachers dispel stereotypes by teaching a variety of stories from different countries in the continent.
One great book that counters stereotypes, “Africa is Not a Country,” gets to the heart of modern Africa: rural and urban families, living contemporary and traditional lives, and children in their homes, with their families, going to school, and playing with their friends. In this activity- which touches on 25 countries in Africa- kids will be locating and coloring countries on the map as they hear them mentioned in the story. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Geography, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Literature, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, People, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe
Tagged fiction children's books, maps
You might have read that our son was born in Ethiopia. Because we want Ricky to have a connection to his heritage, as a family we try to learn as much as we can about Ethiopia: the food, traditions, history, language, music, religion, and more. Ricky loves to learn about and talk about his birthplace! There are many ways to incorporate culture into our children’s lives, and the easiest way to start is by locating it on a map. All of the pictures are © Becky Morales unless otherwise stated. Continue reading
Today’s post is written by my friend Jayme. Jayme is the adoptive mother to twins, Isabel Tsege and Elijah Geremu, who were born in Ethiopia. She loves to explore the world with her children, and actively seeks out every opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of both culture and geography. Her primary goal as a parent is to raise happy, thoughtful, compassionate, confident and creative little citizens of the world. Check out her blog “adventures of the wondertwins” to learn more about her cuties!
- Jon with the twins on a recent road trip through southern Ethiopia
Our family loves road trips, and we’ve been on quite a few since the twins were babies. Some people may think we’re crazy for spending so much time in the car with our kids, but it’s just become a way of life for us. We treat time in the car as family time, and do not rely on things like DVD players or video games to pass the time. Instead we sing songs, talk, look at maps, play the alphabet game, storytelling games, geography games, or “bury the cows” Continue reading
The world has two fields of thought about avocados: sweet or salty. When people in Mexico, the United States, and Canada think of avocados, we think “guacamole with chips.” In Brazil, Morocco, and Ethiopia, the avocado is usually mixed with sugar in creamy drinks. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, you have to try this layered juice drink from Ethiopia, known as “spris.” Continue reading
Our school recently held an International Night, to culminate a week of fun activities: classes did lots of art projects, such as making Multicultural Dolls and Diversity Quilts, every student made a flag of their heritage, they sang tons of songs from different genres around the world in music class, we shared bread from around the world on our International Bread Day, and held a colorful parade of traditional clothes through the hallways.
During International Night, I called for parents to coordinate “Country Tables” that were to be set up in the cafeteria during our spring Open House. I began months before, looking for volunteers to be the leaders of a particular country: we have large populations of families from China, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and Indonesia, and I needed at least one person to be “in charge” of each team of volunteers. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Around the World, Asia, Chile, China, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Mexico, Palestine, Taiwan, The Americas, UAE, Zimbabwe
Tagged education, international week, multicultural
I love using high-quality children’s literature to show them how children around the world live with their families, go to school, and enjoy playing with their friends. Educators and parents can use literature to increase cultural awareness because young children are able to digest new concepts when the information is presented in story form (see journal articles below).
Here are a few books about life in Ethiopia, from children’s perspectives. When I purchased these books, I was looking to enhance my son’s knowledge of his birth country and encourage a positive self-concept of his cultural heritage, without portraying negative stereotypes. We enjoyed the photographs and information presented so much that we decided to purchase extra copies to give to our children’s school, to enrich their library. Continue reading
You might know that we have an Ethiopian exchange student for the year (who is from Norway). Her Aunt Zeleka (originally from Gulele, Addis Ababa) came to visit us for the weekend and offered to make my kids breakfast this morning: “It’s kinche… Ethiopian oatmeal.” I vaguely remembered eating this while in Ethiopia, and was excited to have someone show us how to make it.
I was surprised when I saw that there were only 3 ingredients…cracked wheat, water, and oil or butter! Super-easy, nutritious, cheap, relatively fast– and kids love hot breakfast foods (as do grown-ups!). Continue reading
A Tegre (mancala-type) game board we bought near Dorze, Ethiopia
When I was a teenager, my parents bought my little brother and sister a game called Mancala: “one of the oldest board games from Africa,” claimed the box. Mancala is the name that anthropologists have given to a type of board game that is played throughout Africa, and some places in Asia (from The Complete Mancala Games Book by Larry Russ). They are usually made of wood that have various numbers of holes carved in them. Seeds, beans, or stones are moved around according to different rules, and victory is achieved when one player has captured all of the seeds.
The boys in Dorze who taught us to play Tegre
Fast-forward to 2008, and my husband and I were traveling in southern Ethiopia. In a small village called Dorze we became friends with a group of boys who were interested in showing us their ping-pong table, their instruments, and their “Tegre” game. This was like the mancala game I had when I was younger! With deft hands and broken English, the boys explained how to play, while quickly scooping up seeds and depositing them around the board. There are many ways to play, but here are the rules they explained to us, instructions for an easy-to-make game board, and even an on-line mancala game to try.
Ethiopia is truly the land of milk and honey… especially the honey part! Because of a climate that produces such a diversity of flowering plants, and a rich history of thousands of years of beekeeping, Ethiopia is the leading African nation in production of beeswax and honey and in the top 10 nations worldwide. One way to eat honey is to bake it in bread. This is a recipe for a not-so-common bread called Yemarina Yewotet Dabo. Yemar means honey, yewotet means milk, and dabo means bread in Amharic, one of the main languages of Ethiopia. Most dabo (bread) do not have honey, eggs, nor milk as part of the ingredients, which makes this bread unique. Continue reading
Hanging honey hives in southern Ethiopia, near the Omo Valley
We were driving down a rocky road in southern, rural Ethiopia when I asked the driver to stop. “Wait! Are those the beehives from that book about the Ethiopian beekeepers!?” I said to my husband, while the driver answered “Well, I don’t know the book, but they are Ethiopian beehives. They hang in the trees so the insects and animals don’t get the honey.” I knew that I wanted to buy some honey, so at the next market I innocently asked a young man we met if he could show me where to buy some. In my naivety, I imagined buying little jars of honey as souvenirs for my mom and sisters. As we zigzagged through the women selling gourds, potatoes, coffee beans, onions, my excitement grew… and then, when the boy swung around holding the open gourd heavy with beautiful, raw, sweet honey, I hope he didn’t see my face drop as I immediately thought of all of the TSA and customs rules I would be breaking taking it as a carry-on (or worse, trying to pack it in my checked bag!). Needless to say, and much to our chagrin, we did not buy the honey in Ethiopia. We still chuckle about my giddiness in the market while walking to the honey section. When we got home I re-read “The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela” while showing my kids pictures of the beehives we saw, and we even made honey bread, albeit with local honey!
The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela is written by award-winning author Cristina Kessler, Continue reading
Learning about what is eaten around the world gives us a chance stimulate all of our senses. Get some fun aprons, pull chairs up to the counters, and make a promise that everyone will at least take one bite of the new food. It is fun to cook with our kids- sometimes with new ingredients, sometimes combining old ingredients into new plates. An added benefit is that the more kids are exposed to new flavors, the more likely they are to try new foods. Let’s stimulate our little ones’ taste buds Ethiopian-style. Continue reading