May 8, 2012

Learning About Our World

We had a special guest speaker today. Cate's mom, Allison, came in to teach the children about some places where she has lived. Here is a description of her time with us today. "Today Mrs. Hazen’s Kindergarten Class went on a global adventure far away from Shelburne, Vermont. We set off to the Middle East, a huge region that covers parts of the African and Asian continents. We learned that people in the Middle East live in hot deserts but also in green farmlands and by mountains, rivers, and oceans. They speak many different languages, like Arabic and Hebrew. Cate’s mom lived in the Middle East, and we saw pictures of her at the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the Old City in holy Jerusalem, and the Mediterranean cost of Tunisia. Cate’s mom showed us how once upon a time she spoke Arabic and Hebrew, and we learned how to write our names in Arabic. Arabic is written backwards, from right to left! We also learned that hamsa is a special good luck symbol in the Middle East. Hamsa means “five” in Arabic, and it is an open palmed image of five fingers that represents blessings and protection. Different religious traditions have different names for the good luck hamsa. Muslims call it the hand of Fatima (Muhammad’s daughter); Jews call it the hand of Miriam (Moses’s sister); and Christians call it the hand of Mary (Jesus’s mother). We made a hamsa by tracing our thumb and first two fingers of our left hand and then the thumb and first two fingers of our right hand. Then we cut out our hamsa, covered it tightly with magical silver foil, and etched symbols into the silver. Finally, we painted a big eye in the center of the palm for protection. The kids can make the hamsa a necklace, hang it on a window, keep it as a bookmark, or just hold onto it as a good luck charm. We closed our global adventure by talking about how the world is very big, very interesting, and very different. When asked where in the world the kids might like to explore one day, they answered enthusiastically: Egypt! South Africa! California! Mexico! Lebanon! Florida!"- by Allison Kingsley