20141030-122029.jpgThroughout the month of September our Grade 1/2’s have been inquiring about different kinds of families.  Since primary students are at an age where they are highly focused on families, beginning the year with a unit from the Social Studies curriculum was a natural place to start.  Young  children spend most of their time with their families. Home is where the heart is – family is what they know and love. They are anxious to share stories about family, where they belong in their family, and the responsibilities they hold at home.  So the focus of our learning was to add to that background knowledge of what it means to be a family, and to create new knowledge of families today.

The basic structure of the family has changed drastically throughout the years.  Some examples of the families that now exist include: traditional families, single parent families, cultural families, multi-generational (extended) families, mixed families, and same-sex parent families.  Diversity is present in every individual, and in every family.  Our learning goals focused around children understanding and learning to respect and welcome this diversity.

As we continue to explore this diversity and investigate where our own families come from, we have also been interested in learning about families living in different parts of the world.  Our first global collaboration included a video conference with Passages to Canada Speaker Veena Gokhale on Tuesday October 28th, 2014.

PhotoVeena was born in Mumbai, India. Soon after she was born her parents moved to a small town in central India where she lived until she was 10.  Veena first visited Canada as a journalist, and later returned as an adult to pursue higher education. She immigrated to Canada shortly there after and now lives with her husband in Montreal Quebec. Here is what our grade 2 classes learned from Veena during our video conference:

1.  When you move to a different country it is called immigration.
2.  Hindi is the main language spoken in India.
20141030-120941.jpg3.  Veena’s mother was a doctor and her father travelled, so her Grandmother lived with her and her brother- this is called an extended family.
4. Veena’s family in India wears different clothes than we do – women wear sari’s.
5.  Veena didn’t have television growing up, but her Grandmother told her lots of wonderful stories that she still remembers today (and she’s published books of short stories she’d like to share with us!)
6.  Veena worked as a journalist and that’s why she came to Canada for the first time.
7.  It takes her 16 hours by plane to travel back to see her family in India.
8.  She sends letters, calls, and uses Skype to keep in touch with her family back home.
9. Veena visits her mom for a month every year, and her mother comes to Canada once a year for a month too. We got to meet her mom because she was visiting her this month!
10. Sometimes she misses living in India, but she likes that she can travel like her dad.


20141030-121000.jpgVeena taught us all about Diwali. Diwali is a holiday celebrated in India and by people of the Hindu religion around the world. Diwali is the celebration of the Hindu New Year. Our New Year is in January. Mrs. Cassell told us we would learn about other New Year holiday celebrations this year too! During Diwali, people eat lots of food, visit with family, give each other presents (like we do at Christmas). They also light candles, fireworks, and clean their houses. We also learned that they have rituals. One of the rituals is that the sister and brother feed each other food and give each other gifts like money. They also pray a lot during Diwali.
Before we said good-bye to Veena we learned how to say “thank you” in Hindi – Dhanyavaad


Veena by GracieWe are looking forward to speaking with Veena again as we learn about traditions and celebrations in our own community and around the world.

Thank you for sharing your stories of coming to Canada with us. Dhanyavaad!


Passages to Canada has been a Digital Human Library member since 2012. Thank you Passages to Canada for helping us connect with people from around the world!

Your browser does not support the video tag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: