Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving: Montessori Curriculum Activities for All Cultures

NAMC montessori curriculum activities canadian thanksgiving cornucopia
Even if you don’t teach in a Canadian classroom, it could be beneficial to introduce your students to Canadian Thanksgiving. Not only would a study of this holiday be a lesson in Canadian history, it is exposure to the idea that more than one country celebrates Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Canada is always the second Monday in October, and this year will fall on October 12. There are multiple traditions which are believed to be at the root of Canadian Thanksgiving. The first tradition came to Canada with the Europeans. Farmers in Europe celebrated their thanks for an abundant harvest during the fall season. They would sometimes fill a curved horn with fruits and grains. This cornucopia (“horn of good plenty”) is still seen today during Canadian thanksgiving celebrations.

Another influence on Canadian Thanksgiving happened in 1621 when the U.S. pilgrims celebrated their first harvest. This celebration was brought to Nova Scotia around 1750. Around that time, French settlers were also holding similar feasts. Canadian Parliament, in 1879, originally declared November 6 the national holiday of Thanksgiving, but over time the date changed, and in 1957, became the second Monday in October. Many people believe that Thanksgiving is earlier in Canada than the U.S. because Canada’s harvest is earlier.

Talking about Canadian Thanksgiving in the Montessori classroom isn’t just a chance for a history lesson, it is also an opportunity to use the celebration to help teach the character education and virtues your students have been working on all year.

Canadian Thanksgiving: Montessori Curriculum Activities for All Cultures

With my Montessori students, I might use Thanksgiving to either culminate or kickoff a several week look at appreciation and thankfulness. Help your students to realize how much they have, how little some others have, and how they can help those who have less.

Canadian Thanksgiving Activities for the Montessori Classroom
  • Have a classroom feast of fall foods. Grow the vegetables at school or get them from a local farmer if possible. Cook the meal as a class and invite parents or another classroom.
  • Collect money or clothing for those in need. Help students to focus on being thankful for what they have and finding the pleasure in giving to others.
  • Visit a local turkey farm. Observe and sketch the turkeys for a zoology and art assignment.
Canadian Thanksgiving Books for the Montessori Classroom
  • Thanksgiving Day in Canada, by Krys Val Lewicki
  • That's Very Canadian!: An Exceptionally Interesting Report About All Things Canadian, by Vivien Bowers and Dianne Eastman
Canadian Thanksgiving Resources for the Montessori Teacher
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, October 6, 2009.

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