Grades 3 and 4 participated in a high-energy African drumming workshop with visiting musician Fana Soro. Fana is an internationally-acclaimed musician from the Ivory Coast. He taught the girls the “djembe”, West Africa’s most popular drum.
Part of the French program is to learn about French-speaking countries around the world. This workshop allowed the girls to use French to communicate with someone from another country while learning how to play the “djembe”. Fana also shared his call and response songs in his mother tongue of Senoufo.
It was fun interacting with Fana in French, and to laugh with him while discovering his culture. Merci Fana!
This year, Grade Three Yorkies have been part of a Roots of Empathy inspired project where they got to know two babies: Wyatt, son of Nicole Sobieski, and Finley, son of Megan Dalziel.
In the fall students began having visits from Ms. Sobieski and baby Wyatt. With our Junior School Librarian, Ms. Webb, the students learned about baby Wyatt, how he was growing, and what he needs to feel happy and safe. Throughout the year, these visits continued and were supported with lessons on the developing brain and how babies learn.
To build on and apply this knowledge, students were given the task to create a toy that would help a baby learn at their stage of development. Class 3Y designed a toy for baby Wyatt who was 8 months old and 3H designed for baby Finely at 13 months old. Students gained empathy for their baby by observing what they could do and learning about what babies that age typically do next.
To help the Grade 3 students learn about toy designers and making toys for babies, the students had a Skype interview with York House Alum and founder of Monti Toys, Zahra Kassam. Zahra talked about how she designs toys based on her knowledge of early childhood development, ways to test toys with babies and ensure they are safe.
Over the next few weeks, students design and built their toys. Many toys encouraged babies to crawl, stand or even walk. Other toys help babies with matching, spatial awareness, and understanding cause and effect. The highlight was sharing toys with the babies and observing them interact with them!
This project was a collaboration with Carly Trinder, June Nolan, Karen Webb, Jennifer Sharpe, and Susan Sobieski. A special thank you to Zahra Kassam for speaking with the girls and to Wyatt and Finley and their families Nicole Sobieski, Mireille Lo, and Megan Dalziel.