It’s Family Day today and we’re enjoying some time with our families here at home. Although it’s been mostly centred around homework, we’ve also been in Victoria with my extended family because it’s Chinese New Year’s weekend as well and we usually gather together for at least one big dinner.
Although our kids aren’t little anymore, we’ve remained diligent over the years in planning and organizing time to be with them which can be challenging because of our busy after school and weekend schedules. We eat dinner together late most week nights, one of our few constants where all of us are sitting down and talking (and reviewing who will be driving which car with whom on the way to school and home again). Our kids are both musicians and love to sing and play their instruments with their Dad. And we really enjoy travelling just as family of four to experience new places and foods and activities to create those common bonds and memories.
During this term, our focus in Social Studies has been on the Family. As always, we try to integrate as many parts of our day into a theme to deepen the learning and view it from as many perspectives as possible. We started off with a Sharing Special Helper theme of “Our Family’s Favourite Activities.” This is certainly one of the most fun Sharing activities we do because the children are able to talk about the most important relationships they have–that of the family unit.
We posted the information outside our classrooms, created the Sharing and Special Helper calendar, and continued to use the Remind texts to follow-up with our expectations for Sharing. It’s been so wonderful to see the love as the Special Helper names the people and pets in his or her family photo. Then, our parents have assisted with some writing for their child to read, or with prompts from us, about the things their family enjoys doing together.
Everybody illustrated one of their favourite family activities, then we sorted and classified those activities into broader groupings.
In class, we’ve been reading aloud from our collection of books on Family. We’ve brainstormed the various roles of the family, trying to work through the connections of grandparents, aunts and uncles (Mom’s sister? Dad’s sister? Mom’s brother? Dad’s brother?) and who are the nieces and nephews. We were really surprised at how well the children could explain which aunts and uncles were their parents’ siblings, and those who were related through marriage. The children drew and labelled these beautiful portraits of their immediate families:
We’ve collected quite a few books which talk about different aspects of the family, and grouped them below here for you in case you’re looking for more titles to read.
- The Great Big Book of Families (Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith)
- The Family Book (Todd Parr)
- Alison’s House (Maxine Trottier and Michael Martchenko)
- Mommy Works, Daddy Works (Marika Pedersen and Mikele Hall; Deirdre Betteridge)
Needs and Wants:
- A Chair for My Mother (Vera B. Williams)
Brothers and Sisters:
- Julius, the Baby of the World (Kevin Henkes)
- Peter’s Chair (Ezra Jack Keats)
- Revenge of the Small SMALL (Jean Little and Janet Wilson)
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz)`
- Big Sister and Little Sister (Charlotte Zolotow and Martha Alexander)
- Oma’s Quilt (Paulette Bourgeois and Stephane Jorisch)
Happy Family Day, from our families to yours!
Book Update: Celebrating the Family: Kindergarten Social Studies
We’re so enjoying the beautiful photos and mini write-ups of your family and family activities the children are bringing in for their Sharing and Special Helper Day. We love to see you at the beach, on holiday and celebrating birthdays, often with extended family members and family friends. When the children have an opportunity to see your photos, they quickly realise that although each of them are unique in their own way there are so many similarities between them: the family they love to spend time with, and in what they enjoying doing with their loved ones.
Our families love to read together, listen and play music together, go for walks as a family, travel and celebrate the love of family whether it be for birthdays or holidays. These are some of the delightful activities our children have been telling us about you. We have the opportunity to get to know your child better in their family context and deepen our understanding of your child.
This year we added two more Scholastic books to our Family booklist, The Things I Love About Family by Trace Moroney and Families by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly. We used them as a provocation over two lessons to discuss the ways in which families look after each other, the things they enjoy doing together.