Friday, April 15, 2011

Joy School - The Netherlands

We had the last of our World Cultures lessons. I was sad to see the unit go; I always look forward to this one. But, forward we must press! Lesson: The first thing our host mother taught us was the proper name for the country we were studying. It is not Holland. Holland is a province within the country of The Netherlands. I did know that the country was called, 'The Netherlands,' but I thought that 'Holland' was interchangeable with it. Much like Russia how is technically called, 'The Russian Federation,' you can get away with just saying, 'Russia.' Not so.
Then she presented a map of Europe and The Netherlands, and we coloured in the country, as we did in our France lesson.

We learned about the canals that run all over the country, even between cities, which are treated much like streets, and boats like cars. I was very interested to learn that in the winter, people skate on the canals, not for pleasure as we skate here, but as a legitimate form of transportation. "Oh, can you go get me some eggs as the market?" "Sure, just let me strap on my ice skates."

We learned about their Queen, and that for a time as a girl, she actually lived in Canada. How cool is that?

We looked at pictures of the traditional clothing of the country, and then our host had made some dress up clothes for the kids. It was so fun and cute! I loved the little girl's hats.

(It took a bit of luck to get any sort of picture with our whole little class. It may not be a perfect picture, but it is what I've got!)

The clogs deserved a picture of their own. I don't know where she got the pattern, or if she made it up herself, but the result was perfect.

Video Clip: We watched a travel video that showed the streets of Amsterdam, and a bit of the local flavor. Let me just say that while I would be thrilled to go there some day, I won't be eating any of the street-vendor food.

Art Time:

We learned about The Netherlands' famous tulips and the history of them, (fascinating!!!)

Then we finger, (and arm!) painted tulips of our own. For the stems we painted the length of the children's forearms, and they pressed them against the paper to make three green lines.

Then for the blossoms, we had them clench their hand into a fist, and we dipped the sides into the colour of their choice. Then they pressed their fists above the stems to create the long, straight petals of a tulip. The results were pretty good, and even my boy, who does not like getting messy, took to it.

Story Time:

The story is about a family at the height of the tulip craze in the mid 1600s. Tulips and tulip bulbs at the time were worth more than diamonds and gold. Banks had vaults especially for tulip bulbs. People sold off everything they owned to invest in tulips. The artist Rembrandt did just this, and when the market for tulips crashed, he lost everything. Amazing. And true.

Anyway, in the story, a father is a tulip farmer, and for his daughter's birthday he gives her a few tulips for her very own. As the day progresses, she is approached by people who offer her incredible trades for her tulips. She gets a new bed, a dresser, a table, a chair, a painting, and many other things all for a couple of tulips. At the end of the book, she is offered a fantastic deal with a large and spacious house for her most valuable tulip bulb, but she thinks it is beautiful and does not sell her last flower because it was a gift from her father.

Snack Time:

We ate homemade applesauce, a standard food for children in The Netherlands, and wedges of Gouda cheese, since the country is also well known for its cheeses. I hadn't had Gouda in a long time, and it was soooo yummy!

Craft Time:

We had learned about the iconic windmills, and their importance in our lesson period, so for craft, we made our own.

The building is made from a toilet paper roll, and we drew on windows and a door. A quick snip or two to make an X from card stock and a brad in the center, and you have a functional windmill in the palm of your hand.

And so we ended our day, sang our goodbye song, and went on our way.

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