It's so important to me that my children learn about other countries and cultures. For my daughter's kindergarten year, I pieced together a curriculum to learn about China. We read a few good books and looked up places on maps- but what she learned wasn't in depth and she was soon asking questions that received the answer, "We learned about that, don't you remember?"
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Now that my son is entering his informal kindergarten year, I want geography to have less stress on my end, but better results. We're going to achieve that lofty goal through Around the World with Picture Books Part 1 from Beautiful Feet Books.
In the past, I've bought different books from this company, but this is our first experience using a Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. Around the World With Picture Books is made for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. The entire set comes with a beautiful guide, 15 books, and a notebook.
I made a little unboxing video below!
Around the World With Pictures Books Part 1 teaches about Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.
My son quickly dug into the books on the coffee table. He isn't a reader yet, so usually avoids looking at books on his own "because I can't read, Mom!" But he looked through at least 5 of them until I put them away so it didn't spoil the curriculum fun!
Using Good Books to Teach Geography
I'm planning to use Around the World With Picture Books in the fall, but I wanted to try out some of it to share it with you. Like I mentioned above, the guide is just beautiful! It looks like a magazine that could gain permanent residence on our coffee table. There were some tips in the guide to read before we jumped into the curriculum.
The first country covered in the guide is China. The lessons involved good books about China, and most are included in the complete set. We read some of the books in one sitting and some were broken up over multiple lessons. This approach tells me that they understand young children and their attention spans!
One of the first books we looked at was Anno's China. This book is actually wordless, but there is so much to see. We looked at a few pages at a time, and then discussed certain aspects of the culture as it was portrayed in the book. This is what caused me to fall in love with this curriculum: as well as reading the book, we were directed to a video that gave background information about an ancient painting that the book's illustrations were based off of. I wouldn't have known to do this on my own and was so grateful for the direction!
The MAPS book that comes with Around the World With Pictures Books is just stunning! These aren't your typical maps: each one shows a region and things that are important to it, like symbols, animals, and natural resources.
The lessons continue in the fashion of reading a book and then digging a little deeper with a library book suggestion, link to explore, or activity to do. I appreciated that the activities weren't too much- I tend to shy away from heavily involved extras. These are meaningful and not complicated.
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Keeping a Geography Notebook
As we read through the good books in the curriculum, we're also keeping a geography notebook. The guide prompts us to color a picture (there are pictures and resources in the back to photocopy) or make another type of entry in the beautiful journal that came with the set. When we're done, we'll have something to look back on and remember what we learned.
Around the World With Picture Books Part 1 will fill our minds with inspiration and knowledge, fill the notebook with what we've learned, and fill out shelves with good books.
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