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Photo of Stephanie Raper

Stephanie Raper
In the Loop Editor


Even though it's Fall outside, in The Kidzeum at Grenada Elementary School, there is a 15' tall Christmas tree decorated with many symbols of Canada.  Students are learning how Canadian's celebrate Christmas!  Yes, that's correct – it’s Christmas in Canada!

In order for all the students at GES to experience the Christmas exhibit in two visits by December, The Kidzeum has to begin before the Christmas holiday season.  Since the opening of The Kidzeum in January 1995, the Christmas traditions of several other countries have been featured each year during the holiday season.  The Kidzeum alternates exhibits, highlighting a country that is cold at Christmas one year with one that is warm the following year.   Countries featured so far include Brazil, Australia, Germany, and this year’s country, Canada.  Hands-on activities during these Christmas exhibits bring the geography, history, and customs such as everyday life, foods, games, and music of each country to the students of GES.
This year during Christmas in Canada, students will be amazed to learn that Canada is the second largest country in the world.  They will discover that Canada and the United States have many similarities and many differences.  Canadians, like Americans, are comprised of many diverse groups of people who have settled in their country.  Most Canadians claim French, English, German, Inuit, Scottish, or Polish ancestry.  Students will gain knowledge of many Canadian traditions brought by these various cultures.   The protocol for the National Anthem of our country and Canada's National Anthem is introduced at the beginning of this Kidzeum exhibit. 

Students will study the Native People of Canada, The Inuits, who used igloos as their hunting camps in the Northern regions of Canada.  They will also learn that Canadians use coins called a "loonie" for one dollar and a "toonie" which took the place of the Canadian two-dollar bill. 

Did you know that Canada has two official national languages - English and French?  Around the school, signs are posted for each room, giving the name of the room in French.  In The Kidzeum, Christmas greetings in French are being learned by each class that visits.
During the first visit, the students will be divided into groups to explore in the exhibit.  One group will enter an Inuit igloo to discover what unique animals are found in different types of habitats in Canada.  They will listen to an Inuit tale, The Polar Bear Son, that helps reinforce the great love and respect the Inuits have for all animals.  Later, the students will play an Inuit game called Ajagak.  The Inuits played this game to pass the time during the long, dark winter days.  The Inuits believed that by playing Ajagak, it would make the sun return sooner.  Another group of students will play a flag game to find out about many of the symbols of Canada compared to the USA. They will also find out why the Canadian flag has a maple leaf located in its center. 

The maple leaf is a recognized symbol of Canada that represents unity, tolerance, and peace.  The maple leaf is an especially fitting symbol for the country that produces eighty percent of the world's pure maple syrup.  Canadian maple syrup is exported to approximately fifty countries, including the United States which is the primary importer.
During their second visit, the students at Grenada Elementary will discover how the different cultures of Canada are used to create many of our own Christmas traditions as well as Canada's.  The children will gather around the 15' tree to listen to The Christmas Story, as told around the world.  Afterwards, they will take a whirl around the patinoire (ice rink) in their sock feet on artificial ice.  Students will also get a chance to sing Jingle Bells around a sleigh, while jingling hand bells.
Another Canadian tradition, the Yule Log, was brought to Canada by the French.  A large log is chosen, oiled, and placed in the fireplace just before Christmas Day.  It continues to burn throughout the season.  While learning about the Yule Log, students will have the chance to taste a scrumptious French dessert called the Bouche Noel (“Yule Log”). 

The exhibit, which opened October 27, will end on December 11, 2014. 
The Kidzeum encourages all grandparents to visit the Christmas in Canadaexhibit for Open House for Grandparents on Friday, December 12.  The times for Open House at The Kidzeum will be 8:00a.m-10:00a.m.  for the children in the second and third grades.  The times for Kindergarten and first grade children to visit with their grandparents will be
12:00p.m.-2:00p.m.  "Joyeus Noël!