26 Oct Teaching Your Preschooler About Thanksgiving
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, there is no better time to start teaching your child about the history of this important national holiday. Unfortunately, the history we learned as children is a more fictionalized account of what actually happened. Here are a few tips on how the 21st Century Parent can have a talk about what actually happened at this important feast.
A History Lesson
Have a sit-down with your preschooler to chat about the chronological history of the first Thanksgiving, being sure to be respectful of the interpretation of the differing cultures that sat down for that original event. Explain that the Pilgrims, a group of around 100 men, women and children, arrived in America aboard the Mayflower in December of 1620 in search of religious freedom from the King of England. Their first winter in the New World was tough, and many people got sick or died. However, with help from the local Native Americans, the Pilgrims were able to plant indigenous crops and learn new techniques to survive in this strange new place.
After a bountiful harvest in 1621, Captain Miles Standish invited the Native Americans that had helped them to join in a three-day feast of Thanksgiving—side by side with the Pilgrims—which eventually became our national holiday.
Focus on a Message
The key theme of Thanksgiving is gratitude and differing groups of people coming together to celebrate the things they are thankful for. Be sure to connect the story of Thanksgiving to their own personal lives by asking them what they are thankful for in the past year.
Encourage Critical Thinking
When talking about differing cultures putting aside differences and coming together, it’s important to focus on multiple perspectives. Teach your child to be a historian by examining children’s books at your local library and seeing how they portray Native Americans of that time. If you live near Native American tribal lands or reservations, take a trip to the nation headquarters to learn more about the history of the people around you, some of whom your preschooler may have never encountered before! Help your child have an open mind this Thanksgiving, and they’ll practice it for years to come.
Want to learn more about Pleasant Hill Academy located in Duluth, Georgia? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.