The Patriot Preschooler

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Books Always Help

Whenever there’s a big cognitive concept to be introduced or understood in our house, books always help. Patriotism is no exception. How do you explain love of country to a child that doesn’t yet understand that living in the same town as Grandma and living in the same country as Nana mean two very different things? There are some that wouldn’t bother to try explaining – wait until he’s older and more mature – but kids have questions, and I try to answer them. I know I’m not alone when I say my preschooler has a million questions, about everything, and I could choose to ignore them, or stifle them with trite answers, but I try to maintain the patience to answer (most of them). For B, explaining patriotism came about because of his love of all things athletic. Attend an athletic event and you’ll most often find it preceded by the playing and/or singing of the star spangled banner, maybe even a color guard. When B asked why we stood up and what the song was before a basketball game, I didn’t take a “time-out” for a patriotism lesson. I answered that we were honoring our country and our freedom to enjoy the game we were about to watch, then I made a mental note to follow up on that question later, but how?


An Active Mind Notices

It wasn’t long before B noticed the flag flying in other places: in front of the library, at “Old MacDonald’s,” in front of the bank, at the rodeo, even behind the president during a news conference! He recognized the stars and stripes and we talked about the flag representing our country, and our country is the United States. He also noticed that the same song played at both basketball and football games, and at games in different locations. Now, The Star-Spangled Banner is one heck of a hard song, so I’m not teaching him all the meaning behind that one just yet, but we did talk about it being a song to honor both the flag and our country. Our backyard soccer games are now usually preceded by the requirement that we “hold the ball and stand in a line” while we “listen to” (or while mom sings) The Star-Spangled Banner. It’s pretty cute that he’s emulating his adored activities with such detail, but I’m also pretty proud that he is learning this tradition of patriotism.


Keep Your Eyes Peeled for a Good Book

Meet Our Flag, Old GloryI’ll admit, that after the first flag question, I didn’t run out and look up the perfect book to teach B about patriotism – I’m not that organized. But like I said, I tucked that question away, and when I stumbled across Meet Our Flag, Old Glory, by April Jones Prince, at our library, I snatched it up and brought it home to be my springboard. This flag-themed book is written in pleasant, bouncy rhyme and illustrated with collage-style watercolor pictures. It’s a child’s introduction to the flag, literally. Prince describes the flag with personification as though the reader might reach out and shake hands. B especially liked the page that reads, “Whenever I spy Old Glory I feel so strong and proud. I see her at the ballgame soaring high above the crowd.” His response was, “WE saw the flag at OUR game!” One page spread shows flags placed about a cemetery, and reads, “I place her near lost loved ones.” This was a great introduction to Memorial Day as well, which is why I decided to share it with you this week. The story ends with a connection to the 4th of July, which would also be an appropriate time to share this book – but I liked it for Memorial Day because the concept of celebrating patriotism and memorializing heroes is symbolized so much by the image of the flag. At the back of the book, there is a useful history of how the American flag came to look the way it does, as well as some background on its display and on the pledge of allegiance.


Appropriate for preschoolers, primary grades.


I’m linking up at Read Aloud Thursday and Feed Me Books Friday (hosted this week at Mom Tried It)! Go find some more great books there!
Saturday I'll be linked up at Meme's the Word if you want to go check out some other meme's!

6 comments:

JDaniel4's Mom May 27, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

This book sounds great! Memorial Day books are hard to find.

Brimful Curiosities May 27, 2010 at 7:11 PM  

I bought a couple of red paper poppies from the local VFW and gave them to my kids. My daughter wanted to know why the lady was selling them, and I had a hard time trying to explain. Thanks for the book suggestion.

Amy May 27, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

This looks like a fantastic book! Patriotism is such a big concept for little children, I think. Thanks for sharing a great resource!

And thanks for linking up to Read Aloud Thursday! :-) Your blog looks fantastic!

Kim May 27, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

We have talked about veterans and serving our country, but I haven't really talked about patriotism. This is a great suggestion. Thank you. Thank you for linking up, too.

Ginny Marie May 29, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

Memorial Day is a hard day to explain. My five year old has been asking me about it. I think I should see if our library has this book! She loves the 4th of July, so I think she would love this book!

Raising a Happy Child June 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM  

I am thinking a lot about patriotism during May-July events. It's a lot harder for us who are not born here to raise our daughter in a proper balance. I am mulling this as a theme for my Sunday post, but in the meantime I will keep my eyes open for that book.

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