One of my lovely co-workers is from Nigeria. One day she introduced a story to the children called, "Handa's Surprise" by Eileen Brown. Handa wants to take some fruit to her friend as a gift. As is common in African culture, Handa carries the basket of fruit on her head. Unbeknown to Handa, different African animals steal a piece of fruit out of her basket as she walks along. Soon her basket is empty, until she walks under an orange tree. A goat comes along and butts the tree, knocking down a shower of oranges and effectively filling up Handa's basket again.
When she gets to her friend she is surprised by the contents of her basket but all is good as her friend declares that oranges are her favorite!
She told the story using the book and next time used the flannel board.
Another time she brought real fruit and let the children touch it, smell it and try to name it! Some of the toddlers tried to bite it....of course!
They recognized bananas and oranges, but some of the other fruits were new to them.
They learned the names of Guava's, Avocados, Pineapple, and Mango.
They even learned that oranges can be called tangerines, mandarins or clementines.
The toddlers who wanted to, got to try carrying the basket on their heads.
Then one day they were given an orange section after the story.
They enjoyed the sweet, juiciness!
I loved that the toddlers got to experience a different culture through this story. I think we will continue to tell this story and bring it to life in more ways.
*bring out African animals for free play
*put out a basket with toy fruit
*make the flannel story available for use
*make orange juice in a blender
*have a group snack and offer all of the different kinds of fruit for tasting
To continue celebrating diversity:
*have a family gathering and everyone can bring a dish representing their culture