Sunday, 15 June 2014

Play to Teach Our Culture

With Ladybug Girl going into grade one this school year, I've become very conscious about modelling a love of the Philippines for her.  I find it hard because public resources for children her age are few and well, boring.
Much as I love her Montessori preschool, it is painfully Western.  

They don't celebrate Linggo ng Wika or teach Filipino.   When I compare myself with how homeschooling moms abroad teach their children their culture and history, I feel pathetic.  As a working mom, I can't go through the lengths that they do, but I can try to find simple ways of my own.  
One of the nicer areas of Museo Pambata.  The rest are in pretty sad shape.

Geography.  Montessori is big on geography because of a pretty awesome philosophy: children need to know that everything in the world has a name and everything has a place in it.  In this way children become eager to learn about the world and respect their place among others in it.   
I plunked down a big amount for this poster-sized world map with magnetic pieces (not shown) because the Philippines is clearly distinguishable in the lower right corner.  We even have our own wooden magnetic piece.
She knows where we are in the Earth, but she doesn't know our regions and islands yet.  I wish we had puzzle maps of the Philippines instead of boring maps at the bookstore.  Find ways to make fun play like this:

Draw a map on the bathroom wall with bath crayons or washable markers,
then break out some washable paint

A giant Philippines map!  I pointed out places where we've been and where people we know live.
Thankfully our local publishers are catching on to this need for early Filipino learning.  I found this great beginner map as part of a freebie from this Tahanan book.
This was a made-up game of "follow the leader" as we sang the names of the three regions and stepped on each one.
And then we took out some clay and made a raised relief map of the Philippines right on top.  This was an opportunity to talk about land forms, like the fact that Mindanao is very mountainous unlike Luzon.

Language Play.  The ideal way to teach the language is by having one parent be the "native Tagalog speaker" at home - that was always the plan but never the reality.    So far we're pretty basic.  We often read one Filipino book at night before the usual English ones.  
And we have these: 
Flashcards found at Fully Booked (we're just learning our first batch on the whiteboard in her room).
This becomes a source of q&a games we like to play before bedtime at night.

I also sneak in some handwriting practice on this theme:

Scratch-off Paper from toy store as a leave-behind play tray for her to do while mommy is at the office.

Play with Art and Culture.  This should be more deliberate than it has been, but any chance to get some hands-on play with Filipino culture is great.

Palayok Play.
We cooked real rice in her clay palayok from the palengke.  Do this outside - the house reeked of smoke but we had a good laugh!

She poured in the rice and water and lit the fire with a stick.  All the while we chattered about where rice came from and how life is like this in the provinces.  She watched, wide-eyed, as I ate the rice afterwards (she didn't want to)!

Book resources we used.  The rice book is a little too advanced, so we just leafed through it.
"Araw sa Palengke" is a charming little story about how a little girl got a play clay pot just like the one we have.
I recently discovered The Learning Basket and they are a fantastic resource for Filipino literature and play.

Sungka Play.
Great counting and fine motor practice!

Bahay Kubo Play.
Just washable paint on the bathroom walls.
This was her guide from Filipino Friends book on her toilet seat!
I asked her who this guy she added was - was it a farmer?  It was the first Philippine president, "Ag-na-low"
I'm thrilled that our three museum trips have paid off!  It was only when she turned five that she began asking questions about Independence Day and so a trip to the Ayala Museum was called for.  
Third time's a charm!
Our absolute favourites at Ayala Museum.  
We love feeding the fish outside after every visit.  The koi fish are so much bigger now.

Music Play Attempt.

Awesome Guy played Francis M but it was too loud for the little girl.  Haha!  Any suggestions for music sources?

Flag Play.  Of course no play is complete without making our flag!  The single best way to spend the Independence Day holiday.
Make a flag with bubble wrap, paint, glue and glitter (see here)
I came home to this simple unplanned flag that Ladybug Girl made with her yaya

And there should always, always be leave-behind play to do while the parentals are at work.  At least in this house!  Luckily, flag crafts are the simplest to put together and we've barely scratched the surface at ideas to do.  Here's one:

We had a bundle of paper straws that were put to new use in this tray.  Ladybug Girl is an early reader so I put out signs to practice cursive reading, but I think this tray is intuitive enough even for kids who are still learning to read.

P.S.  I also hate paper straws so good riddance to these.

The secret is contact paper.  I love contact paper.

Cut a slanted shape on the paper flag (National Bookstore, 7 pesos).  Make pointed ends by taping the back.  Attach contact paper sticky side out.
Funky Flag

Model the Love for Country.  I'm realising I take learning to be a Filipino for granted, thinking my daughter will just learn a love of country on her own.  
But if I don't model it myself, I know it'll never happen.  My parents did the same for me - they were ordinary citizens who marched on Edsa in 1986.  
That's why I marched last year.
But why so serious!  Modelling a love for country can be fun.  Here's my version of geography play.
DIY Patriotism!  Made from Pantone postcards bought at Heima.

But when I asked Ladybug Girl if it looked familiar, she said "North America".
I still have some work play to do!
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  1. I love your ideas mommy! I had been writing down some ideas on how to integrate Filipino arts and culture into our lessons. Since Rapha is in public school he is taught the mother tongue (which in our case will be Cebuano) once we move to Mindanao. But hubby and I agreed to always use Tagalog at home. Regarding Filipino songs collections from the APO hiking society, Ryan cayabyab would be a good start. :)

    1. Please share your ideas on Filipino play with me too!! Mahirap mag-lesson plan (unlike you!). I didn't know Cebuano was the primary language, even in Davao schools. I think that's so great. I have a friend in the States who raises his son in pure Tagalog at home. Wish I started that, too!

      Thanks for the music tips, why didn't I think of that! I'll check that out!

  2. I'm a new follower here.. Being a mom to a pre schooler, I learned new tricks on how to teach my child. Very artistic, fun and educational!!! Expect me to be around here... Thanks a lot mommy!

    1. Happy you found this, Donna! Your little girl is pretty advanced as a 3 year old, but you can also check the "galleries" button on the upper right side of the blog for a handy visual way of seeing ideas for early pre-school too. So glad to share with like-minded mommies like you.

  3. Great idea for teaching kids Filipino culture. May I ask where did you buy the palayok pots ? I have been searching everywhere but the only ones I saw were for decoration purposes only. Thanks.

  4. Hi Lyn! So sorry it took me awhile to reply. Work has been crazy and somehow I can't reply through mobile! The palayok was bought by her lola at Pasig palengke. Hope this helps!!:)


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