The Children's School at Stephens College

Because big dreams start early.


December 2018

Matunda Ya Kwanzaa

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Our three day study of Kwanzaa was filled with questions, unity, songs and pie. We began our study with a song, Matunda Ya Kwanzaa, that helped us to understand the seven principles of Kwanzaa and what they mean. We also learned how to introduce ourselves in Swahili. Seven is an important number within the Kwanzaa celebration, so we read a story about seven brothers who had to work together to turn thread into gold. Through the story, we learned that weaving is an important African tradition and we did some of our own weaving. Our study ended with meditation and a feast. The meditation consisted of answering three questions: Who am I?, Am I who I say that I am?, and Am I all that I ought to be? After our meditation, we took part in a feast of homemade sweet potato pie; a family recipe. We sat together as a family in unity, which is what Kwanzaa is all about.

Holidays Around the World: Hanukkah

This week in our inquiry study about holidays and celebrations around the world, students focused on Hanukkah. We discussed the importance of knowing about other people’s cultures and traditions even when we do not share their beliefs. Students shared prior knowledge and questions they had about Hanukkah, then went off to research the traditions and backstory of the holiday. Together, we made dreidels, learned how to play the dreidel game, and learned to sing and dance to “O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah.”
We read Patricia Polacco’s “The Trees of the Dancing Goats,” a story about a Jewish family who cares for their sick neighbors by bringing them Christmas trees decorated with dancing goat ornaments they made for Hanukkah. Later the neighbors bring them a menorah to thank them and then they eat latkes together. Our class celebrated the heart of the story by creating dancing goats to hang on our book tree and cooking (and eating!) gluten-free latkes.

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