“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
By Beth Pinyerd
Nov. 15 through 19 is Geography Awareness Week. Lessons that I really cherish, learned and remembered growing up in Opelika, Alabama, in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s are the way our teachers in the Opelika City School system brought the world to our door by teaching us map studies in Geography lessons.
Memorization of the seven continents of Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Australia was a must learning requirement. I am sure we Baby Boomers remember colored pencils were a supply requirement as we outlined, colored and learned about different continents and countries in our world.
Geography is the study of places and people in relationship to their environment. It includes the study of the earth’s surface, land such as mountains, valleys, flat lands, bodies of water such as rivers, oceans, climate, peoples, industries and natural resources. Too, we look at natural vegetation such as plants, shrubs and trees that grow in different areas. Also, we look at the different types of animals who adapt and naturally live in an area.
This week National Geographic has created the Geography Awareness Week in order to educate families, children and all people and build excitement about Geography as part of a learning discipline and just a part of everyday life. Our younger generation needs to be able to understand the world and how we make a global impact on the world in our community. National Geographic hopes this week to encourage students and families to really understand the need for continued education in Geography.
In the early childhood classroom, preschoolers love to point to different countries on the globe. Buying an inexpensive globe for your young child is truly a worthy investment to broaden their world. They love to find where they live on the globe, then from home base on the globe, they can travel around the world with their finger. This can be done with maps, too. Talk to them about when they cross over oceans and explain to your young child about children and their cultures in different countries. Explain to your children that God has the whole world in His hands.
Make time to walk through your neighborhood and let children explore the community around them. After returning home after your walking trip, sit down with your children, review what they saw and draw a simple map of what they saw.
National Family Week rolls in on Sunday, Nov. 21 and goes through Nov. 27. For more than 45 years, Thanksgiving week has been proclaimed as National Family Week. Sam Wiley, from Indiana, is the creator of the week to honor families. He was a teacher, basketball coach and school administrator. He observed a big difference between children who came from a strong supportive family unit versus those children who did not come from a strong family unit.
This touched his heart to do something to recognize the importance that family plays in our culture and society. As the important foundation of our national life, family life must be kept and preserved. What better place to preserve family life than in our homes. Readers, I would like to review an article that Classroom Observer has presented earlier to the community in reviewing the importance of the home for young children.
Normally our homes provide a place of refuge, security, peace and where we can let down and sense we are loved and accepted for who we are. You’ve heard the expression, “home is where the heart is”. This expression means so much to a child’s growth, development and life. Home is a place where a child can learn, grow and experience many different lessons to prepare them to live in a bigger home, our world. How can a home prepare a child emotionally, learn new skills appropriate for their age, learn rules of discipline which lead to a well-adjusted life and respect for others and for children to use and recognize their gifts and talents.
1.EMOTIONALLY: Children are moldable and bendable by the words we say to them. Young children need clear lines of rules and boundaries, but yet they need words of encouragement in order to learn, grow and just believe and know how special they are. One of my favorite centers in the classroom is the Play-Doh center because I can mold, roll and pat Play-Doh. Play-Doh is just plain old fun to make different kinds of things. Like Play-Doh, children can be shaped into objects they don’t desire to be or into objects that radiate like the bright colors of Play-Doh by the words, actions and time we spend with our children. The home is the perfect environment where words of encouragement and time spent with our children are the essential building blocks in their adjustment, well-being and good self-esteem. Too, getting off the very busy routine at home and letting your child just unwind is very important.
2.LEARNING NEW SKILLS: There are so many readiness and academic lessons to be learned at home through household chores that truthfully aid in your child’s developmental learning. Sorting laundry into piles like the family’s dirty or clean clothes, they can sort what belongs to mom, dad, brother or sister. Sorting silverware to set the table for a family meal emphasizes groups or sets. Too, children have to count and remember how many family members need a place at the table, which is one-to-one correspondence. In the kitchen, having preschool children read food labels by looking at the pictures on the jars or cans contributes to reading readiness. Measurement of quantities, fractions or comparison of sizes can be taught as young children help mom or dad in the kitchen. Social skills can be taught as you interact with your young child. Too, role-playing is an excellent way to teach a child the wrong and right way. Siblings can be a part of role-playing what is right and what is wrong. Discovery skills in science can be taught by having your child observe his/her surroundings. Reading together a favorite book is an excellent way to wind down the day while at the same time teaching your preschool child new words and concepts.
3.DISCIPLINE: As a parent, it is our responsibility to discipline our children. Home provides the environment for helping a child learn to get along with his/her family as well as his/her friends. Young children are born with the desire for parents or caregivers to set boundaries for their health and safety. We have rules for driving on the road, being careful, as well as respecting the lives of others. As I tell my students in my classroom, “I set up rules for you to follow because I do care and love you.” Rules differ for each family according to their needs and lifestyles, as well as cultures. We use the example if we have no rules in our classroom, we cannot learn because we would have no direction. It is the same with children at home. They remember and follow the rules you consistently set down and expect them to follow.
4.GIFT AND TALENTS: What better environment can a child realize that they have certain gifts, talents and unique personalities than in the safety of their homes. Celebrating the life of your child is so very important. Set special days within your home to spend time one on one with each of your children. You don’t have to wait till their birthdays. Stay in tune to what your child likes to do, such as drawing, reading, music, science, puzzles or playing with blocks. Spend time with your child at home. Time spent with your child spells LOVE. They are little people, too, whose young lives can be molded within the home.
A home well lived in is where a young child can feel love, safety and happiness and take this wonderful foundation into the world. During the week of National Family Week let’s recommit ourselves to the God-ordained concept of family. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to do this!