At Meridian, our students learn about communities and families starting in Kindergarten, and continue these discussions through 5th grade. In the fall, Kindergarteners participate in a Family Studies Unit, and 5th graders engage in a Family Heritage Unit. Kindergarteners (with the help of their parents!) construct puzzle pieces, share what makes their family unique, discuss different traditions and values, and write stories about a particular family experience. They talk about family structures, the roles and responsibilities we have in our families, the holidays they celebrate and more. 5th graders explore how a family’s heritage shapes its identity. They interview relatives to collect information and stories about their family’s ancestors and cultural background, write memoirs, and complete a research project about a country connected to their family’s heritage. These units will culminate with a morning of sharing and presentations before Winter Break. In preparation for our celebration, we asked Kindergarteners and 5th graders to share their learning.
[In Kindergarten] we are learning how things and people are different. We’ve learned that sometimes we don’t look the same, but actually are the same on the inside. Families are important, and it’s nice to talk to our families about what makes us special. We think we will keep talking about families for a long time. We don’t understand why yet, but it is fun to learn. We also talk a lot about Meridian Cares (I care for myself, I care for others, I care for our place) because it is like what we do at home with our families. We do activities that help us learn about why Meridian Cares is important at school and at home.
[In 5th grade] we’re learning our family’s origins and researching details about our families. We are making a video about where we are historically from, and about our families now. We are using pictures, old and new, and finding music, too. The video explains who our family is, where our ancestors came from, and interesting facts about those countries. A lot of people don’t really know or understand their heritage. Learning about that is important because you should know who you are and where you came from. The research process also helps to develop our writing skills. Our family heritage unit ties into other areas of study, and expands into folktales, so it is nice to have overlap. Family heritage connects to Global Studies and exposes us to other cultures and regions. The fact that we are studying people we know and care about makes it more personal and engaging.