For most of the fall the grade one and two classes have been working together during thier Social Studies classes. We have been working on the concepts of peace, family, friendship and giving; and how these concepts are integral to Mi'kmaq culture. When we saw the December contest we became excited because we knew that this contest would be the perfect culmination of the students' hard work.
We decided that a Mi'kmaq nativity scene would capture the essence of all of the concepts that we had been exploring, and that in the spirit of giving the children would give the nativity scenes to some of the elders in our community.
Mrs. Toney provided the conceptual design for our nativity scene along with all of the supplies. We broke the classes into small groups of two and three children and spent four full afternoons completing the projects. During that time the children learned Mi'kmaq vocabulary, history, religion and a little bit about hot glue!!!! They also learned a valuable lesson about working together!
We produced 12 nativity scenes and decided to present them to 12 of the elders in Membertou who were over the age of 70. In the traditional manner, each pair (or threesome) of children who created the gift arrived at an elder's home unannounced and presented them with their gift. It took us two days to deliver all twelve gifts and the enthusiasm that the children showed was wonderful!! (An unexpected present for the teachers!)
The children experienced the delight of surprising someone with a gift, and once they saw the joy on the faces of the elders they truly understood what the spirit of giving really means.
This was a wonderful project and one that we hope to turn into a tradition at Membertou Elementary School.