Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I Will Remember You - Explaining Remembrance Day to Children

Molly has been asking about poppies for a few weeks now, ever since she spotted one on a classmate's jacket in the morning kindergarten line-up.  This past weekend she told us that she wanted one of her own and we happily to obliged.   I still have fond, vibrant memories from my childhood of sitting in my grandfather's car and admiring the rows of poppies he'd secured to the driver's side visor.  Each year the poppy collection grew one larger, shortly after Remembrance Day he'd place his newest poppy onto the visor.  When I asked him why he purchased a new poppy each year, even though he clearly had many, he explained about the importance of continually supporting veterans. This display was something he was very proud of.

Image, Poppies on Lake Geneva, Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Before we agreed to secure the red flower onto Molly and Jack's lapels we wanted to make sure that they had some understanding of the significance of Remembrance Day here in Canada.  But how do you explain war, death, freedom and personal sacrifice to four year olds who have been privileged enough to live here without going overboard and frightening them?

Since my grandfather, also Jack, is no longer around to help explain, we found a fantastic story online called Why Wear a Poppy that illustrates sacrifice and significance of Remembrance Day in terms that children can understand.

After sharing the story several times both children have a better appreciation as to why they're wearing a poppy.

Molly can recite many parts of the Why Wear a Poppy story aloud already, and when you ask her why she's wearing her poppy, she says it's because she's proud to be Canadian and to celebrate and pay tribute to soldiers and freedom.

You can also use resources available at your local school or the Royal Canadian Legion about their Youth Programs, created to help young Canadians understand Remembrance Day and the cost of their freedom or attend many Remembrance Day events and encourage your kids to ask lots of questions.

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