For reasons unbeknownst to me and my fellow teaching artists at The School, the director decided to add a “multicultural focus” to the curriculum this year. She chose four different “countries” (presumably at random) and asked us to incorporate each of these “countries” into our lesson plans.
I’m putting the word “countries” in quotes because initially, The School’s director had chosen Alaska as one of the four. When her assistant informed her that Alaska is not a country but a state, they put their heads together and decided upon the Inuit Nation instead.
(Because, yeah, that makes sense—let’s try to get a bunch of preschoolers to understand one of the most highly contested “nations” of the northern hemisphere.)
Nonetheless, I was pretty excited about the multicultural focus at first. We spent the fall talking about Diwali, yoga and all things India and I’ve already begun collection resources for South Africa (which we’ll tie into the Black History Month concert) and Greece (which will result in some sort of Olympic-inspired graduation ceremony at the end of the school year, complete with competitive bean bag passing, tunnel crawling and balance bean walking).
With India, however, it was easy. And even though I’m less of an expert on South Africa, I’m pretty sure that South Africa and Greece will be easy too. Why? Well, these countries have a lot going on in the music and dance department.
The Inuit Nation? Not so much.
Which is not to say that the Inuit don’t have a rich cultural heritage—they do—but it’s not one that’s easily translated to preschoolers.
Fortunately, yesterday’s Inuit-inspired Winter Song Fest (in which we told Inuit folk tale How the Raven Stole the Sun, thanks to the advice of my Jomar shopping buddy and fellow Dance Anthropologist) went off without a hitch. Given the lack of preschooler-friendly Inuit music, my students danced to a compilation of “Deep Breathing” yoga tracks, Mozart and a lullaby tribute to Dave Matthews Band (which was pretty kick *ss if I do say so myself).
Here’s a shot from the show:
- Is the inuit language taught in schools (wiki.answers.com)
- First Nation, Metis, and Inuit: First in Canada (izuran.wordpress.com)
- Circumpolar Agreement Affirms Inuit Development Rights (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)