I am a former military child, a military vet and a current military wife. I am very fortunate to have seen all three of these different sides of the military, and I think it has helped me to be able to teach military children in an effective manner. These experiences have let me know how important it is that children are connected to the communities in which they live, even if it is for a short period of time.
When I was searching for a curriculum, I wanted something that would help the children learn about places they have already lived and where they currently lived. It is important for them to be able to relate to their communities and help them understand that all people are different in some way and can teach them something important. With Mother Goose Time I found a curriculum that would allow me to connect them to the world outside of the classroom. Which is important for military children who are constantly saying hello and goodbye to people in their lives.
How do they do this you may ask? With stories brought in from different cultures. One of these stories called Chimidyue, it is a folktale from the Amazon Rainforest in which a little girl needs to make it to the market to sell her hats. What made this such a great way to show the children the similarities to other cultures and to their every day life was that we were able to talk about different stories their parents had told them, ask about things they were scared of and asked what their parents told them not to do to keep them safe. This story helped children realize that parents all over the world tell their children things they should not do to keep them safe and that there are different things we are all scared or worried about.
For the month of January, we were given the New Year's Celebration kit. What was so important about this kit was that it came with a simplified version of the life of Martin Luther King. As a military child we come in contact with people of different religions, races and backgrounds practically from birth. So you can almost see the shock of their faces when you tell them what Martin Luther King was fighting for. The confusion about why anyone would be mean to anyone for being different is just mind boggling to them. This led to a conversation about how California is different from the states they use to live in and the way they are the same. They said what they liked and what they didn't like about the places they have lived. All of this came from a conversation about Martin Luther King.
A military child's ability to see the bigger picture and connect it the world is astounding. They have taken more away from each of the places they have lived in their short lives than adults think. It's my job as an educator to help them see the similarities and the differences into their normal everyday experiences and relate it back to something they have experienced. This is why it is important that the right tools is provided. Mother Goose Time did have a map and taught about different countries, which was super awesome for the military child who has traveled outside of the U.S.
Helping them to find a common thread in the communities they have lived is a great way to encourage curiosity about the world and to help them get use to the new place in which they are living. Help them to feel connected.