Preschoolers need hands-on experiences to help cement their learning. Today we learned about the American flag, so making one was just the right thing to do, because patriotism begins with our flag. We needed to thank our veterans, but let me back up…
Years ago, when we were able to take field trips with children, I took the class to the Shriner’s circus. Little did I know when the circus begins the lights go out and a big American flag drops down. Everyone rises to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. Everyone except my class. Parents were chatting. Children were running around.
I was horrified. I rushed to every child to take off any ball caps and put their hands over their hearts. That was my turning point, my wake up call. I knew I needed to teach children about our flag and more.
I start with books, and I sing the books. These are the three best, the tried-and-true, songs that children love to sing, with illustrations that bring the songs to life. Do you know what a towering steep is? My children do.
Then, we are ready to sing, standing proud with our hands on our hearts. We learned what a veteran is. We talked about bravery and serving our country.
After we made the flag, doing all the cutting and gluing, we were then ready to say a proper ‘Thank You’ to a veteran. This is important! Children’s words are authentic, and I never change a single word. Decorating a thank you note is as important as the words. It is hands-on learning and giving.
Do grown men cry? Yes. Ed was pretty choked up and teary eyed. The children knew he loved the letter and the flag they made for him. See, that’s one more step for children. They learned, and they gave. They felt good today.
On a side note, our current chapter reading book is “The Story of Doctor Dolittle.” Hugh Lofting wrote the book in 1920, over a hundred years ago. He was serving his country in World War I. He had children back home, and there was nothing to write home about, as the war was so terrible. Instead of writing letters to his children, he wrote stories about animals, which became his beloved book that children still read today. My class loves this book!
So on this Veterans Day, I also think of Hugh Lofting.