Global understanding


Finding Turkey

Finding Turkey

It makes sense that global understanding starts with understanding the globe. At least that’s what some children and I think.

It was a Monday in the Multipurpose Unit Early Classroom Intervention Program (MUECIP) in Çanakkale, Turkey. This program is an innovative approach for 4-5 year-olds from low-SES families, which integrates music and arts. The student teacher, Dilsad Korkmaz, did an excellent job of keeping the children engaged and allowing for the inevitable individual differences.

The program draws from approaches such as Orff, Babies with Identity, and High-Scope. There is ample use of graphic displays on class size, seasons, daily activities, birthdays, responsibilities, etc. Family participation is encouraged through interviews with the families and home visits to observe children in their natural lives. Parents rotate in providing breakfasts, which also gives them an opportunity to observe the class and engage in the activities.

Finding Cape Cod

Finding Cape Cod

Research by Özlem Çelebioğlu Morkoçc and Ebru Aktan Acar at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University has shown that the program supports overall development, including cognitive and psychomotor skills, self-care, language, and personal-social skills.

It was more compelling to me that the children seemed so engaged in learning. They were excited to talk and share, to dance, and to investigate everything. I had to remove my electronic fitness bracelet when it became too great a distraction. Besides, it was embarrassing that they figured out how to operate it in about 1/10 of the time I had taken.

At one point we drew upon a globe for some collaborative map work. Using many fingers, we first found Turkey, then Cape Cod. I’m not sure how much they comprehended about the globe versus how much they just wanted to interact with each other and their American “uncle.”

3 thoughts on “Global understanding

  1. I also visited a middle school with mostly Roma and immigrant youth, They have the same exuberance, and even innocence that these five-year-olds have.

    I admired what the teachers were doing, but wondered, as I have in the US, about how much sense it makes to confine kids at that age to desks and classrooms, and to easily testable curricula, when they need so much to explore the world, each other, and themselves.


  2. Wonderful. Now then, what happens when they reach early adolescence? Wish we could keep the innocence and joyful activity into “muddle school” years. Maybe if we could still sit on the floor and play with clay and draw and just enjoy learning?


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