As a Preschool and Lower School art teacher, Ms. Michelle is able to expose our youngest learners to the world through the universal language of art. Making global connections to the Preschool curriculum year-round based on the students’ interests, she keeps them engaged and interested in learning.
Focusing on specific international events and/or practices, each learning moment is different. For example:
- In the fall, after taking the students to the Library, Michelle discovered they were not only interested in reading books, but in the making of them. Bringing the Japanese art of paper creation, she taught the students how to make their own. Eventually, the paper, made from scratch and embellished reflecting individual personalities, will be bound into a book. The one made from seeds, however, will be planted on Frontier, taking the students down a path of horticulture.
- In December the students celebrated Santa Lucia’s Day, a Swedish festival of lights that marks the beginning of the Christmas season. To celebrate the tradition, the Young Fives travel in white clothing and “star” hats serving Scandinavian baked foods to other Preschoolers and visitors.
- Just this month, the Young Fives class participated in the 2nd Annual Preschool Palio, a tradition in the making as part of the International Marketplace. The origins of the real Palio, Il Palio, date back to the 14th Century and the modern version takes place in Siena, Italy on July 2 and August 16. Ten horses and their riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. To the sounds of trumpet fanfare and snare drumroll, the students proudly paraded their hand-painted flags and colors of their chosen contrade. After a lap of heavy applause from the spectators, the students gathered their horses, waited for the signal of the trumpet and galloped off and around the ring three times. All riders gave a gallant attempt for the win, but it was Liam Houston to take the crown in today’s Preschool Palio.
Reflecting on his win and the impact Ms. Michelle has made overall, student Liam Houston says, “She helps us a lot by showing us stuff that’s cool so we can learn about it and then she lets us have fun with it.”
#IMAMUSTANG: Michelle Erling engages our students by opening the doors to the world through art. Thanks for reaching them by speaking their language Ms. Michelle!