Dear Playgroup Community,
For the month of May we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The term is broad as it is used to describe a diverse and fast-growing population of 23 million Americans that includes roughly 50 ethnic groups with roots in more than 40 countries. The Census defines Asian Americans as those with origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) as those within the U.S. jurisdictions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. During this month we celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of AANHOPI and their impact on American History. The United States first declared Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week for the first 10 days of May in 1978, and in 1992 May was officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen for two reasons. On May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States. Then, more than 20 years later on May 10, 1869 the first transcontinental railroad was completed, thanks in large part to more than 20,000 Chinese immigrants. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have a long and rich heritage of involvement in the United States and have played a key role in shaping America.
At Playgroup, with so many different countries and cultures to celebrate during this special month, we will be focusing on China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam where our Playgroup volunteer families have their roots. The children will immerse themselves in the rich cultures of AANHOPI by viewing a map of Asia and the Pacific Islands, looking at family photographs of current Playgroup students and their ancestors, and learning about different cultural artifacts (from the above countries) in the classrooms by way of our artifact box (containing such items as a Panda Bear from China, Indian Goddess Ganesha, Hooki Japanese Broom, Korean dress or Hanbok, New Zealand Poi Balls, and a Vietnamese Dress or Ao Dai). There will also be a cultural craft, Sumi Ink Painting (description attached) curated by Jessica, and delicious snacks unique to the countries served throughout the month. The children can read many of the beautifully curated books, with the help of the teachers, which will be on display across from the cultural corner for all to access. Lastly, on Friday May 13th the children will be treated to a special musical and visual performance from the Pacific Island of Hawaii. We will welcome the talents of Haopinaka to play the ukulele and perform Hula. It will be a great month for the children to learn and broaden their understanding of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander heritage and culture!
Thank you to the Playgroup Families who contributed in bringing AANHOPI to life in our school!
Christina and Lonna