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Around the World in Two Days

Kindergartners Learn About Holidays Overseas


What are the holidays like in other countries? Kindergartners at Bushnell Elementary recently learned how “the most wonderful time of the year” is celebrated in other parts of the world.

The first-time effort charged students in eight classes to make paper-bag “suitcases,” which they decorated with colored drawings of the flags of the country each class adopted for the project: Africa, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Israel, Mexico and Sweden.

Teacher Robyn Anderson said the pre-holiday break activity was a blend of art, social studies, geography and music.

Anaya Jacobs shows off her handmade German pickle ornament
Anaya Jacobs shows off her handmade German pickle ornament

Over two school days, kindergartners grabbed their suitcases and traveled from classroom to classroom, where teachers shared a holiday story and tradition with the pint-sized globe trotters, who then made a craft from that country they could pack in their suitcases.

In Africa, students learned about Kwanzaa and made bracelets using colors of the country’s flag. In Israel, Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. In Canada, they learned that country’s national anthem.

In teacher Kate Henige’s class — also known as Germany — holiday music played as kindergartners Morgan Lucas and Anaya Jacobs spread green glitter on cut-out pickles.

Wait… pickles? “They hide a pickle on the tree, and the first one to find it gets an extra treat,” Anaya explained.

And what if Mom finds it?

“Then she’s cheating,” Anaya said, “because the game is for kids.”

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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