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November 3, 2023
Written by Candice Porter, Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten’s Mercado: Exploring Mexican Art and Culture
In KB's exciting journey of exploration and creativity, our young learners have embarked on a project that not only nurtured their artistic abilities but also expanded their horizons to encompass cultural and linguistic dimensions. Following our in-depth exploration of attributes and the five senses, the students drew inspiration from their visit to the local farmers market and a challenge presented by Mr. Henderson in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Our adventure began as we delved into the life and artistry of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Students closely examined her still life paintings, drawing connections to their prior knowledge of lines, colors, and symbols. Using the vibrant fruits and vegetables obtained during their farmers market excursion, the children undertook the ambitious task of creating their own still life masterpieces. This artistic process encouraged them to hone their observational skills and express their understanding in the distinct style of Frida Kahlo.
Throughout this project, our young scholars engaged in a multi-step creative process that nurtured critical thinking, fine motor skills, and an appreciation for visual arts. They meticulously applied their newfound knowledge of lines, colors, and symbolism to their own artwork, further reinforcing academic ties to their previous learning.
As our journey continued, we turned our attention to Mexico, a country with great significance to Frida Kahlo. This expansion into cultural studies allowed our students to connect their classroom experiences to the broader world. Drawing from their Spanish classes, they embarked on a journey to explore the customs and traditions of Mexico, deepening their understanding of this rich culture.
Incorporating these newfound insights, the students embarked on the creation of their very own mercado (market) right within our classroom. They crafted papel picado (traditional Mexican paper decorations), marigolds (an important element of Dia de los Muertos), and various fruits and vegetables. The endeavor not only fostered creativity but also introduced a hands-on learning experience that touched upon cultural and linguistic aspects. The creation of plants and trees, as suggested by one of our creative students, helped set the scene for our mercado.
In the true spirit of immersion, the students took their language learning to the next level by writing signs in Spanish. With the assistance of Mr. Henderson, they sounded out the words, contributing to their growing linguistic skills and expanding their cultural awareness.
This multifaceted project has been a testament to our students' enthusiasm for learning, fostering a deep connection between art, culture, and language. It's heartening to see the kids not only create beautiful artwork but also develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. We look forward to further explorations and growth as we continue our educational journey together.
Candice Porter is a kindergarten teacher at Flint Hill. She has a master's degree in education from George Mason University.
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