Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Of Presidents and so much more

Niño has been learning about the 44 US Presidents at school for the last month or so. And I am astonished by the fact that in just over a month's time, he now knows the name of all 44 by heart along with at least one interesting fact about each one of them, an insatiable desire to learn more and an enthusiasm to share with us everything new that he learns each day. Just before writing this, I just wrote to his music teacher who has been working with them in teaching the president song and sharing very interesting tidbits about all of them, thanking her for the brilliant way she is doing it. The children sing the song which goes like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and so on, complete with actions like they hold up one finger for Washington because he was the first President, they make the White House with their hands for John Adams because he was the first one to stay there, they hold their hand on their heart for a President who died while in office, etc. I tried searching on you tube for the song that they have been learning at school. I couldn't find that one but I did find another very interesting one which I have linked to at the top of the post and which is being thoroughly enjoyed by both the siblings ever since!

Which makes me think how effortlessly such important information is being shared with the children. I mean my jaw literally dropped to the floor when Niño told me that Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States during World War II and the participating countries were Japan, Korea, France, Germany and the United States. And Japan attacked US and that's why Truman, the next American President asked for two bombs to be dropped in Japan. My mind immediately raced back to my Grade 9 classroom when I learnt about WW II and the Japan nuclear attacks and how I struggled to memorize the notes that were dictated by our History teacher. While Niño's knowledge is far from complete and may be even inaccurate in places, but at 6 years of age, teaching the children how their present day country was shaped and getting in them the voracious desire to know more is extremely commendable in my eyes. 

He shares several anecdotes like how Abe Lincoln was very lean but so strong that he once lifted a 600 lb load all by himself or that it was during Andrew Jackson was the President during whose term the train was invented. I am so glad to be learning something new almost everyday with him. And at times even ashamed that I don't remember anything about some important events like the Civil War when he talks or asks me more about them. Luckily, while at Target last week, I chanced upon a great pack of US President Flashcards in their Dollar aisle and needless to say they are being devoured like crazy by a very excited little boy who goes over the information on the behind of the pictures and remarks that James Madison shares his own birthday and to everyone's amusement, when a friend of mine playfully asked him a couple of weeks back "Whose birthday is coming up soon?" (referring to Niño's upcoming birthday in March), in all earnest he answered Abraham Lincoln's (which was the next day). 

How I wish I could do something similar for making the kids learn about our Indian Presidents and Prime Ministers. While we composed our own similar song for Indian President and we are through to President No. 4 VV Giri, Niño wanted me to also tell him something about each of them and I couldn't find much information that would interest a child, except for the Teacher's Day information about S. Radhakrishnan. When I put Indian President Song on you tube, what came up was a clip of Obama dancing funny to a hip hop song in Mumbai, India. Pretty promising! However as I write this, I realize that it would be more interesting to teach them about our Prime Ministers because Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi seem more interesting than their Presidential counterparts. Whatever little they learn at this stage is anyways good, I feel :) 

Do you know of some ways you or someone you know have shared this kind of information with their kids? Please do share :)


Tulika said...

Neera, your post comes at a time when I have been thinking about something similar. At school, Priya is studying about the American flag, pledge etc. & I have been wondering how I should introduce the Indian counterparts to her.

I fully agree with your views about how easily kids are picking up information these days (vs. how we dealt with social studies)

noon said...

Really cool Neera. No such song here at KB's school. I wish they would do it. But also V is super bright - so he picks up these things like a sponge and remembers it.

noon said...

I guess I should use the new name - - by V I meant Nino! :)

Neera said...

Tulika: Get into a routine of singing Jan Gana Mana with her every day at whatever time suits you - bed time just before switching off the light works best for us - she'll learn it in no time.

Noonoo: He remembers the things that interest him and then narrates his own version of quite a few too! And well all his co-1st grade friends here remember everything too noonoo, so I guess it really was done with them very well. And yup I have a hard time remembering to put down those new names myself :)

Naresh said...

I did not know these information.
Good to know atleast now.

Thanks. Nice blog said...

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