Thursday, March 26, 2009

England Day at Innovative

I've mentioned in previous posts that Mam is in a Tuesday/Thursday preschool class known as "Innovative" at her school. It's innovative because it's a completely multicultural program. The entire focus of Innovative is learning about different countries and their a preschool level.

A long, long time ago (or so it seems), I signed up to teach the kids about England. I was surprised there wasn't a parent who was a little more "authentic" than I am. I mean, I lived in England for three years and all, but it's not like I've got the accent or the authority of someone who's been a true British subject.

Naturally, the date of my little presentation came up on me faster than I'd hoped. I wouldn't say I'd given no thought to what I was going to do. I'd given it some thought. I just hadn't come up with anything. So, when it came time to really think about it, I was feeling a little panicky. I thought I'd make scones for snack. That was as far as I got. I wanted to come up with some kind of cute craft project and I needed something to talk to them about. The teacher wanted me to talk about the queen. Cool. I could do that. Castles and kings and queens and princesses.

I started off talking about how my family moved all the way across the ocean to England and how we moved to a little town that had its very own castle. The link to current British royalty was a little tenous, but I launched right into how England has a queen. Each of the kids had a sheet of pictures, including the queen and some of the Crown Jewels.

I somehow managed to get from the royal family to the difference in meals between here and there, highlighting teatime with the promise of English biscuits and scones. And then inelegantly segued into how "lots of important things in England are red". Sadly, this isn't as true as it once was, but I showed the kids photos of double decker busses, phone booths, post boxes (mailboxes) and ended with the importance of the palace guards, who wear red coats and protect the aforementioned queen.

I hadn't wanted to do crowns for an art project. It would've been easy, but it felt like a cop out and I knew they'd already done hats and crowns and such for other countries. So, I created a little palace guard cut-out project for them to glue together. In the interest of expediency, I cut out all the bits myself. It turned out pretty least when an adult did it!Turns out, they were pretty cute when the kids put them together too. They needed a lot of help with the glitter glue, but the rest they put together in pretty short order. I'd envisioned taking all sorts of photos during art time, but I was so busy helping the kids with the gluing...and getting my hands covered in glue, that I never got the chance.

Apparently, not doing crowns wasn't really an option. The teachers had also set up a table for those!Mam and I worked all morning making scones for snack. She had a grand ol' time putting ingredients in and kneading the dough. I might have taken photos if my hands hadn't been so sticky. Something about the translation of a British recipe into my American-equipped kitchen didn't work out so well, but the scones were still pretty tasty.I made some with the more traditional raisins and some others, like the one above, with dried apricots. We served these with strawberry jam and McVities Digestive Biscuits at snacktime. The kids seemed to enjoy it. The biscuits were a really big hit. The scones were more hit-or-miss with the kids.

The teachers were very complimentary about the whole thing, even though I was feeling pretty out of my element. I left feeling like I had another big project behind me. Thank goodness. I think I'll go wash those sticky hands now.

1 comment:

Cammi said...

Sooooo fun. You always go the extra mile and it's so worth it. What lucky kids to have such a devoted mom. I think you should start a business for party planning, craft ideas, cake making, artistic planning, etc. I'd hire you, for sure! Some of us (the artistically CHALLENGED) need help with these things!