In my first several years of teaching Montessori preschool, Thanksgiving celebrations focused on the original story involving the indigenous people of the US and the pilgrim settlers. Prior to Thanksgiving Day, I invited local Native Americans to our Montessori classroom to share their knowledge of those who originally lived in our region. Montessori parents and any visiting extended family members were also invited to these presentations.
Our special guests would bring replicas of the homes, show the lifestyle of the families, and also share many examples of their clothing, cooking utensils and pots, and common children’s games. My Montessori preschool students loved this experiential cultural study, and enjoyed participating in a very hands-on way.
That same week, our Montessori classroom hosted a Thanksgiving “feast”. Students prepared a dish together, such skillet corn bread, and parents were invited to bring supplemental dishes. Our Montessori students also created a variety of crafts such as napkin rings for their family table, placemats and turkey centerpieces. Each year we made a different version of a turkey using objects like pine cones, apples and one year, clear Christmas globe ornaments. Attaching colorful feathers was always a fun way to complete the project.
Montessori Community Celebration of Thanksgiving
Our Thanksgiving feast followed. Parents contributed several kinds of cleaned, raw vegetables and we created a vegetable turkey. Children took turns arranging various vegetables on the outline of a turkey covered with wax paper. They made a selection of Native American food - skillet corn bread, popcorn and there was always a basket of pumpkin muffins. The “veggie turkey” was a big hit, and nicely accommodated any vegetarian family guests. In keeping with our theme of giving thanks and helping others, we sang “Thanksgiving Day” by John Forster and Tom Chapin.
Those words and the beautiful voices of the children reflect the true meaning of the holiday:
- Celebrating Thanksgiving with Montessori Activities
- Planning and Celebrating a Montessori Harvest Festival: Activities and Organization
- Exploring the US History of Thanksgiving in the Montessori Classroom
- Canadian Thanksgiving: Montessori Curriculum Activities for All Cultures
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.