Lessons from Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms, paper ed
Lessons from Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms is an excellent educator resource guide for anyone working with preschool and kindergarten students. The guide is directed to educators who want to incorporate Native American and First Nations content into early childhood education programs. The authors have designed a practical and easy-to-use guide that provides strategies and suggestions for appropriate children's literature dealing with contemporary Native cultures and themes. One author, Sally Moomaw, is a professional early childhood educator at the University of Cincinnati. The other author, Guy Jones, is a Native American activist working in Ohio. Both authors contribute personal stories that reflect their areas of expertise. These stories are effectively incorporated into the 175-page guide. The book is divided into eight chapters and focuses on five specific themes in early childhood education. The guide begins with an overview for the need for incorporating contemporary Native American and First Nations issues into the entire preschool and primary curriculum. Five themes, children, home, family, community, and environment, are explored through a cross-cultural perspective. Each theme includes ideas for lessons, lists of appropriate children's literature and resources that develop skills in reading, writing, art, dance, theatre, math, science and music. In each lesson the writers draw connections between the similarities and differences across cultures. The authors deal with stereotypes in literature and ways well-meaning educators may have incorporated disrespectful art and drama activities. In a straightforward manner, the writers suggest ways for teachers to expand their knowledge about contemporary Native people. The suggested literature resources include Canadian and American published materials. Many of the children's books recommended are published by Pemmican Publishers and Kids Can Press. The final chapter provides a detailed program idea for creating an effective Family Heritage Project in primary classrooms that is multicultural in focus and draws on the rich cultural backgrounds of the students' parents. The authors include a helpful annotated list of books and toys to avoid when teaching about Native people. The resource includes an index, helpful illustrations that assist in clarifying ideas, and an annotated recommended resource list of children's literature and teacher resources. The book is a welcome addition to teacher resource guides that incorporate Native perspectives in the early childhood education program. This resource is recommended for anyone interested in Native and multicultural education for preschool and primary grades.