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For most of us, quilts remind us of comfort and warmth. Typically quilts have a variety of vibrant colors and unique patterns that draw our attention. Preschool students can be attracted to quilts, as well. Perhaps they have their own quilts given at birth, which provide them with a familiar and secure feeling.
This lesson can be done anytime during the year. In fact, you may decide to revisit the lesson several times during the year to add to a classroom quilt. Below are some resources and books to use.
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History of Quilts
We think of quilting as a pastime of American pioneer women. They needed to make warm covers for the family. Actually evidence has been found that quilting was even done in Ancient Egypt. Quilting was used for clothing and padding as part of soldier’s armor even in the Middle Ages. Point to where you live on the globe and then to Egypt and Europe on the globe. Talk about how the custom of quilting may have traveled to so many places around the world.
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Oma’s Quilt by Paulette Bourgeois is a touching book about a young girl, her mother and her grandmother. Oma, the grandmother, is moving from her life-long home into a retirement home. Understandably Oma is sad and misses her familiar surroundings. She complains to Emily and her mother about every aspect of her new residence. As Mother and Emily are going through Oma’s old things, Emily suggests that they use some of the sentimental scraps of curtains and clothing to make a quilt for Oma.
1.Why do you think that Oma had to move?
2.What are some of the things that Oma missed about living in her old house?
3.The quilt took a long time to make. Why did Emily and her mother bother with making the quilt when they could go to the store and buy one?
4. Why did the quilt make Oma feel better?
5. Do you think Oma will ever feel good about her new home? Name some special things she can do there.
6. Is there a special or favorite quilt that you have in your family?
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There are several ways you can make a quilt for the classroom. You can use fabric, tagboard or colored paper. Choose only 4 or 5 colors. Then when you assemble the quilt have the students help you by creating a pattern with the colors. Here are some ideas for your quilt:
Give each student a color of fabric,tagboard or paper cut in squares. Then use an opposing color of paint in which to dip the palm side of their hands. Carefully place the painted palm on the paper and press down. Lift up hand and wipe clean. Later the students can write their names with the black marker on the square. Assemble the finished squares first on the floor or large table and the students can assist with the pattern. Then attach to a backing sheet of fabric or bulletin board paper to hang on the wall.
2. Use the same preparation as #1 but send the squares home for the family to decorate with shapes, photos, objects that describe the family. You should include a letter of explanation to the parents and a due date.
3. Use the same preparation and instruct the students to decorate the square for the season. Provide cutouts of leaves, hearts, snowmen, etc. for them to glue on their square as desired. Change the quilt for each season.
4. Make a quilt for a favorite author illustrating scenes from books by the author.
5. Make a quilt of a theme on which you are working: animals, community helpers, weather, etc.
Many objectives can be covered in this lesson: listening skills, story comprehension, understanding patterns, fine motor skills and caring for others. Quilts can be used for classroom themes as a culminating project to brighten up the classroom or hallway.
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References and Resources
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy
This book describes the love of a family as they pitch in to make a quilt for their sick grandmother. Includes colorful full-page illustrations.