Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Montessori Community Celebration of Thanksgiving

girl in thanksgiving turkey hat NAMC montessori community celebration of thanksgivingIn the US, the Thanksgiving holiday is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. There is background information on the American holiday in previous NAMC blogs, listed below.

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

NAMC montessori teacher and boy with donation box montessori community celebration of thanksgiving
Over the years the focus naturally evolved into a Montessori community celebration. In the week before Thanksgiving, students brought different canned goods daily for donation to the local food pantry. We discussed what the children do when they are hungry. When I pointed out that not all children in our city had food readily available at home, our conversation turned to how fortunate we are to have enough food, and the importance of helping others less fortunate. Each day my Montessori students were so excited to see the donation containers fill. The highlight of the week was sorting all the cans and boxes for pickup. When the van arrived, it was a joy to see the happiness in those young faces.

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:

Thanks for our health. Thanks for our hearth And the bounty that grows from the ground. With our loved ones near we bless the year. That's brought us safely 'round.

Related NAMC blogs:
Other helpful resources:
NAMC thanks Maureen Northacker for this blog contribution.
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 Wednesday, November 16, 2011.


Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

NAMC has been providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe for more than 25 years. Since beginning in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 160 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method.