Sunday, August 6, 2017

Preschool Lesson: America

Happy Fourth of July week, folks! A month late? Can it really be August already? I really do love my country and its yearly birthday party (even though it was over 100 degrees... wowsers), so I was all the more tickled to have my turn to teach preschool fall near Independence Day.

I actually didn't find as much as I expected on the internet for a patriotic-themed preschool. I supposed the subject matter is a little mature in some ways; how do you explain to 3-year-olds about freedom from tyranny or revolution against sovereign powers? Instead, I decided we would travel together across the United States of America.

First I did give a brief introduction. I showed America on a globe and America on a map, pointing out that there are so many countries in the world, and ours is just one of them. I told them about our ancestors traveling on boats from Europe in search of religious freedom. I simplified the American Revolution as best I could, showing pictures of King George III, George Washington, and the signers of the constitution.

Whew. And then we talked about the American Flag. They each got their own little flag to wave, and together marched around the living room to the first verse of "You're a Grand Old Flag." We then counted the stripes and stars. This was my segue into how the stars represent 50 states, and who better to introduce them all than Wakko? Love me a song to memorize things; I don't remember all the capitols myself, so I'd better brush up by watching that video 50 more times...

Okay, so now to the roadtrip. With my own map in hand and two megablok figurines, we were ready to embark. We started in our home state and then visited 6 other locations: NYC, Washington, D.C., Texas, San Francisco, Hawaii, and Alaska. At each place, I put up a backdrop picture on our TV and took a "tourist picture" of the kids in the location. In New York, we did Times Square, in San Francisco, we had a trolley car and the Golden Gate Bridge... you get the gist. At the end, we traced our route and let each kiddo glue their pictures on their own maps.

After a quick airplane ride, we landed in New York City. There, we talked about the Statue of Liberty and flipped through this interactive tour. We wrapped up by painting our own crowns and torches. As per usual, SourPatch was minimalist with his painting.

We next hopped aboard a train for Washington, D.C. Here, we talked about our nation's government and how we have a President. After identifying our current president, I showed them pictures of  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We had fun pulling out dollar bills, pennies, and quarters to find them on our money, too. Now I have to confess that I love me a good pop-up book, so I was tickled to go on a White House tour together in this book.

We then built "White Houses" out of sugar cubes. Now I had no illusions of these houses being particularly complicated... or of staying together very well. All the same, it's fun to build out of tiny sugar squares.

A bus took us to Texas. We were pressed for time, so we didn't do more than snap a photo here (pity.) We then went to San Francisco, CA, both to pay tribute to Patch's birthplace and to read a quick 1, 2, 3 San Francisco (after which we ate fortune cookies, a true American treasure.) We swung by Hawaii and Alaska for a few more photo ops.

You can see how many more activities one could pack into this roadtrip! Unfortunately, we filled the two hours as is. We wrapped up by reading God Bless America.

Another fun adventure with a pair of wonderful kids. Thanks for the trip!

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