Teach them about the World

We want to teach children about other cultures. We want them to grasp the concept that there are other people around the world who do things very differently. So, how do you teach your children about all the cultures of the world?

When I worked at one agency, we managed to make pen pals with a different classroom in the agency. That was fun for the children. They got a kick out of hearing what the other classroom was learning about. That began to broaden their world; they began to understand that the world was larger than just what they knew.

But how to make it even larger? And on top of that, possibly learn about new cultures. I started a new experience that I have been writing about here. Then, I got a brilliant idea. This is a free website that I had found in which you can send postcards all around the world. You also get postcards in return. Last week when I requested an address, it gave me a 3 year old girl and I thought, "What a great class project!"

So, here's how I imagine it working:
First, talk to the children about people all around the world. Put up a world map on a wall to be kept throughout the year. Put a globe up as well. Get some books with pictures of people from the different countries.

Sign up the classroom at postcrossing. Put the classroom name and school address in the information instead of your name. Then, in the information, write something about this being a preschool classroom that is learning about different cultures. That you would love to get a return postcard with pictures of their country or even letters talking about some of their traditions or a favorite recipe of theirs.

You have to request (and send) addresses before you will receive any. So, return now to the classroom experience. At circle time, discuss this new project with the children. Let them know that you will be sending postcards to different people around the world and they will be getting postcards in return. Point out the places of the first address you will be sending to. Ask them what they would like to know from someone who lives in that country. Write out the post card putting in questions that the children want to know. Add in there a request for a possible return card or something if you like (but remember, you will also be getting postcards from others as well).

Take a "field trip" to the mailbox at the center to put it in. Maybe some other time during the year you could take a field trip to the post office and bring some postcards you are sending. That would be a great experience!

Start two graphs:

1. To guess how long they think it will take to arrive to it's destination. Have each child guess and record their answers. Put it next to the world map. Make sure to take a picture of the postcard you sent so they can remember and track it.

2. Make a graph for each card that is sent and how long that it took to travel to it's destination. When you get the confirmation that it was received, count how many days it took and then make a bar graph.

When you start receiving post cards, be sure to ask the director to let you know and your class can go on another "field trip" get the mail. Be sure to display the post cards around the map as well. I would even get some yarn and lead it from the picture to where it came from.

When you put in that the card was received, be sure to ask the children what they want to tell the person to thank them for the postcard.

You can even plan some art activities to make postcards to send to people as well.

This is a project that I am very excited about. I am going to try it out in one of our classrooms and give you updates regularly. If you try it out, keep me updated and let me know how it's going. Share your activities that create from this, I'll post them up here.

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