American Girl as a theme?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by WaProvider, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2010

    We are discovering a small but deep interest in American Girls....but we only have a few girls in our population. Has anyone used American Girls as a theme? I was hoping to make it illustrate for the others how doll play is maybe not as simple as a bottle and running out of the drama center?

    Thoughts? Anyone?
     
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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2010

    The one thought I have is that American Girl dolls are very expensive. I'm not sure I'd want to tie a theme into a specific product, especially one that many parents cannot afford. After all a $95 doll is not in a lot of people's budgets. I'm not saying every child in the class will suddenly want one, but as a parent I'd feel a bit annoyed if my 4 year old suddenly started begging for an AG doll after hearing all about it based on lessons taught at school. Especially right around the holidays.

    I do like the idea though of showing what else can be done with dolls other than bottle feeding and rocking, it's the specifics of American Girl that I'd try to avoid.
     
  4. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2010

    Yes, that is exactly why I didn't just take the excitement from the small group of girls and run with it. We are a emergent classroom, which means that we meet the educational objectives required by us by using the "theme" direction that the children supply....however, this "theme" I had not done before and could see a lot of places to trip up.

    I put "theme" in quotes because our use of theme is different than that of some other ECE classrooms.
    My hope was that I could find ways to use the historical nature of the item without really endorsing the toy. In ECE we are using "toys" all the time....some are quite expensive....without saying go buy them....however I don't want to be a commercial by any means!
     
  5. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Nov 18, 2010

    I am a mom whose daughter has AG dolls. They are much beloved. Additionally, they have stories that can be jumping off points for many play sessions as well as history lessons. Couldn't you use the books, some of the AG and the generic AG dolls (Target, ToysRUs and Walmart all have lines that compete with AG) without fear of endorsing one product? I recognize that the doll is expensive, but I also didn't buy my daughter expensive gaming systems and games either. It is all about choice.:love:
     
  6. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Nov 18, 2010

    I also wouldn't focus a theme around a consumer product. I would look deeper- why are these girls so fascinated with these dolls? Is it the mothering of the dolls that they are most interested in- from there you could do a study on babies/families. Is it the clothing? You could do a study on clothing... you get the drift. Talk to them and listen closely.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2010

    WA, would you do a "theme" on Pokemon, SpongeBob Squarepants or Superman? I equate the American doll to that same group. You will understand my answer: NO.
     
  8. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2010

    Ok, Blue....I do hear you.

    Puff....I like that stretching of the idea. I think it is the history and the non fiction story that is facinating the girls. What about if the theme were called "history" or something else....

    I think that is where they are going. They aren't dragging the dolls around, they haven't even brought the dolls to school. They are talking about times, and asking history questions and so on.

    Let me change the question...

    Has anyone ever done a History unit with children this young?
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2010

    I think the history unit is too advanced for ECE. For history to be valid, they need to understand yesterday, a long time ago, and time concepts.

    I think this unit is too broad for ECE. You might be able to listen to the children and find some emergent ideas based upon the dolls. But, I would focus upon specific concepts. Like, Native American Indians. I works well with Thanksgiving, and your concepts would be basic ones, like: Indians lived here before we did.

    What ideas do you have? I never veto an idea that a teacher has until I hear the whole story. You might have an idea and/or approach that would work. And, I love learning new things.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 18, 2010

    The ideas I have are far too broad....I agree.

    The girls (at this point there are three high level girls involved in this group....but others float in and out) have never been interested in Abe Lincoln or other historial figures that pass over in a holiday or season. They like the Christmas Nativity Scene mostly because it has a baby and animals. So history for them had never been an interest.

    We are doing a Native type lesson since my family happens to have some heritage in that realm. Each of the families picked up (on their own, not in a group) a Kaya book at the library. These are historical fiction I am told by the parents. I find it most interesting that these children who were never interested in history AT ALL are now working out how the person lived and helping the Native American/forest living play in the group. This is great and to important to loose....just to move from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

    But I agree it is far to broad.....that is why I came here :mellow:
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 18, 2010

    From your statements it appears that the girls are interested in babies, and how people lived. This could be the emergent theme you are looking for. Have fun with this.
     
  12. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Nov 18, 2010

    It doesn't sound DAP for preschool and too abstract, imho.
     
  13. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Nov 19, 2010

    We always shy away from anything that's on television or is considered a toy (like dolls). I wouldn't do it either.

    What about doing a unit on animals and their babies and teaching the correct names for the young, like a bear and a cub or a a goose and gosling? I know there are materials out there that you can either print out or buy.
     
  14. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Nov 19, 2010

    Here's a link to some work that talks about oviparous (egg laying) and viviparous (animals who have live young) animals.

    http://mymontessorijourney.typepad....2009/04/oviparous-and-viviparous-animals.html

    If they're interested in babies, there are lots of ways/directions you could go in. Plus, if you have lots of boys, they would like this too. And you could also go into some classification of vertebrates and invertebrates, and then go into classifications of mammals.

    Sorry..... I could go on and on about this stuff. I love it. :lol:
     
  15. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 19, 2010

    :thanks:
    Ok!! Thanks for helping me get out of the big huge weighty problem of the plastic. I like the idea of sorting and taking the animals and how people lived and the caring for babies parts out and making distance between that part and the history.

    I had never had a group try to talk something so ......... advanced. I was totally loosing my mind trying how to continue their enthusiasm while not leaving my DAP ideals.

    Whew! I feel totally better now......thanks.....that is why I come here!
    :thumb:
    Off to think now!
     

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