Dear Parents,

Have coconuts been hailed as the new miracle food?  According to Ashur and Aria, a resounding yes! Last Friday we were thrilled by a special presentation on the versatility of coconuts in Fiji hosted by Ashur, Aria, Tanya ( mom) and Grandma ( Dadi in Hindi). We learnt that the unassuming fruit is extremely diverse therefore the entire tree is utilized in a variety of ways.  For instance, the leaves are woven to make thatched roofs for homes, fans for cooling down and the branches are dried and combined for brooms.  ” Dadi”, as she is endearingly referred to by Ashur and Aria ( grandma in Hindi) poked the eyes of the dried nut with a corkscrew to access the sweet water nestled within, then she prodded the flesh of the fruit with a knife and cut this into bite sized pieces for tasting.  She reminded the children that this must only be done with an adult for safety.

Ashur walked around with the dried nut and told his friends to shake it so that they could listen to the sound of the water as Aria served the fruit to her friends.  Tanya informed us that the fruit is pressed to release the coconut milk, the oil is considered a beauty staple and finally she passed around the shredded coconut which Ashur pronounced was for making coconut cake. We were also treated to store bought coconut water for tasting at snack time. The children were amazed by the versatility of this fruit and they did not hesitate to share their personal experiences as well.  Enzo said that necklaces could be made from coconuts, Matias told us that there are several coconut trees in Brazil, Grayson exclaimed that coconuts grow in Mexico too and Areej, not to be outdone, emphasized that Oman also has coconut trees.  Coconuts are also near and dear to me because in Trinidad and Tobago where I grew up, coconuts were an integral part of life in the Caribbean.  

Thank you Ashur, Aria and family for this multi sensory educational hands on experience.  

Coco, with her mom Alicia in tow, were the initial presenters for this week. This introductory presentation was key to our understanding of our research on the country of Fiji and was a fitting initiation since the children were exposed to the native music and upbeat dance moves.  Coco’s postcards depicted the beauty of the islands and the warmth of the people.  She also produced a bottle of water from Fiji emblazoned with its symbolic Hibiscus flower. Bravo Coco!

Matias proved to be an independent and diplomatic presenter since he focused on both countries.  He built the castle of Jabrin in Oman with coloured blocks to match the original picture and painted himself on the beach in Fiji. Impressive Matias! 

Olivia was specific.  She was enthralled with the fauna, namely the Oryx which is like an antelope and the humid climate of Oman.  Along with the map highlighting the location of the country in the world, Olivia compared the temperature and rainfall to our very own Vancouver. What a marked difference!  Thank you for alerting us to this amazing phenomenon Olivia!  

In promoting her native country, Areej was proud to contribute several items for our display table. Native clothing, an incense holder, the flag of Oman and a camel “stuffy ” will all be contributory factors in the consolidation of this theme.

We welcomed Miss Akiko from Japan this week.  She will volunteer with us until mid August. We look forward to sharing cultural traditions as she participates in our program. 

Current events are also part of our circle times and we encourage the children to express their opinions and comments on trends or issues which are au courant and capture their interest.

We were quite excited when Grayson commented on the oil spill at English Bay. This prompted Miss Gill to simulate this occurrence via a simple science experiment.  The children were able to visualize the catastrophic effect of the oil on the water and quickly realized that the water was polluted.

As Earth Day approaches, it is our hope to promote environmental awareness through education.  We would like to recognize all grandparents on this day for their contributions and the impact they have made on the lives of their grandchildren.