Name and Nationality Session 4

Roots: Parents, communities and governments that work for and support human rights for children provide ethnic and national knowledge and roots for their children. They name their children, and help them acquire a sense of belonging in their family, nation, and world. Through this belonging, their children become invested in the positive development of their family and nation (CRC Articles 7, 8).

Rights: Children have the right to a name; to a nationality.

Responsibilities: Children are responsible for respecting the rights of those who live in or come from other countries; standing up for their own and other's rights to a name, nationality, and other indicators of identity; working toward the positive development of their nation.

Session Outcomes


* gain a beginning understanding of the term ;nationality;;
* increase their understanding about their nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, and life role;
* increase respect for their own and others' names.

  • Parents

* share information with their children that helps them understand their heritage;
* teach and role model, according to their child's evolving capacity to learn, responsibilities pertaining to their name and their nationality;
* explore ways to augment children's self-concept with knowledge about their name and heritage;
* explore the formation of our collective identity.

Materials needed:

Interactive Activities

  • Flags of the World chart;
  • Native Cultures flag chart:
  • Colored paper, scissors, glue (red, white and blue), and markers;
  • Rice, scoops, cups and spoons (You might provide a variety of rice, so participants can see the differences);
  • Red and blue paint, white paper, paint brushes, star stamp;
  • Construction paper American flags with instructions on them (see Parent/Child Interactive Activities, Name and Nation Walk).

Parent Education

  • Chart paper and markers;
  • Name cards (from early childhood time);
  • Wee Sing Around The World audiotape;
  • Raffi's One Light, One Sun audiotape, ;Like Me and You; song;
  • Colorful, thin-point markers;
  • Newsprint;
  • Extra copies of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Greet as usual. Make sure everyone gets a name tag.

Parent/Child Interactive Activities


The flag from our country symbolizes the nation that we call our homeland.

  • Families make flags of the place (country, tribe, area, region) from where their ancestors came.
  • Supply charts which show various flags of nations and tribes.

Rice is a food with which a majority of the world's people are familiar.

  • Place uncooked rice of several varieties and scoops, etc. into the sensory table. Suggest parents help children in sorting and naming the varieties.

The American flag is the symbol for the United States of America (USA). The 50 stars represent the 50 states. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies.

  • Provide a star stamp and red and white paint. Parent and children will make the American flag together by making red stripes and stamping stars onto blue paper in top left hand corner.

Provides a vehicle for parentchild discussion about name and nationality. This discussion is preparatory for the parent discussion topic of the day.

  • Use flag shapes and write instructions on them. Put the flags around the room. Have parents and children walk around the room, read them, and do the actions requested on the flag.

Name and Nation Walk Preparation:

Make flags with some, or all, of the below instructions on them.

  • Tell your child your full name, ask him or her to say their full name.
  • Tell your child whom he or she is named for.
  • Tell your child the meaning of his or her name.
  • Tell what you know about the ethnic origin of your child's name.
  • Finger spell your name to your child (Use the American Sign Language Finger Spelling Chart). Finger spell your child's name, and encourage children to finger spell their own names.
  • Tell your child what your nickname is and how you got it. Tell your child how he or she got their nickname or why they don't have one.
  • Tell your child what country your ancestors came from.
  • Show your child the flags of all the countries your ancestors came from.

Gives a visual way to celebrate names and the value of each person as an individual. It also reminds children that they are part of this country.

  • This activity uses the cue card from Session 3. Fold an 8 ; inch piece of paper in half. Then

  • write your child's name above the crease with different colors of glue. Red, white and blue glue are provided. Fold paper again and pat down, open paper and have your child sprinkle glitter to create a mirror image of their name. Using the red, white and blue glue will remind children of the flag of the United States.
  • Everybody Cooks Rice, by Ann Morris
  • A Flag for Our Country, by Eve Spencer
  • Families Are Different, by Nina Pellegrini
  • I Hate English, by Ellen Levine
  • Everybody Cooks Rice, Norah Dooley

Community Circle

  • 1. Transition: Early childhood teacher speaks to each child, and/or touches them on the shoulder and reminds them that circle time will begin soon. After connecting with each child, the teacher begins a gathering song.
  • 2. I'm happy to see all of you!; Sing a get acquainted song of your choice, or sing, ;Shake Hands With Friends and Say Hello; and the ;Name Chant.;
  • 3. Today, our theme is name and nationality. Let's sing a song to recognize all the children here today.;
  • 4. Explain: ;Your name is special even if you know someone with a name like yours or the same as your name, your parents gave you a name that they thought was just right for who you are. Your name is as precious as a jewel. So is every other person's name. Names are precious and need to be protected. It's very important that no one ever makes fun of someone's name. Later we will talk more about names.
  • ;Parents, as we go around this circle will you shout out your child's complete name? You say the first, middle and last names, and then we will sing this song using their first name only.;
  • 5. Sing: If your name is ______ stand up tall.; The teacher introduces the ;Name Game.; Invite everyone to stand up. Invite parents to help their children point to the person being named. It goes like this:

a. The teacher selects a child to begin by singing: Ann, Ann, look at everyone Point to Sue and then you're done.
b. After the child points to Sue, she/he sits down, and the teacher continues:

Sue, Sue, look at everyone Point to Bill and then you're done.;

c. Continue in this way until all the children are named. If your group is small enough (eight or less), name parents as well.

  • 6. Sing ;Shake Hands With Friends; again, and ask that participants say, ;Hello, _____ (child's name), I hope that we can be friends today,; as they are singing the song. In other words, participants use people's names with their handshake.
  • 7. I'd like to go around the circle one more time and have each child, with help from their parent, tell us which countries you or your ancestors came from. Here in the United States there are people from all over the world. Let's find out which countries are represented in our class.;
  • Begin by stating which country/ies you or your parents, grandparents or great grandparents came from. Then the child to the right or left tells about his or her ancestry, and so on, around the circle. After the last child/parent has shared, thank everyone for sharing their information.

  • 8. Sing: ;The More We Get Together,; (using sign language signs, if possible) and ;This Land is Your Land.;
  • 9. Close with: ;This Little Light of Mine.;

NOTE: Adults may have to help children begin this game. As children get comfortable, they will not be shy.

Separate learning time

Children's Learning Circle Session 4

  • 1. Invite children to the circle with a gathering song.
  • 2. Teacher says: ;Remember when we talked about names in the big circle today? Let's remember everybody's name again. Go around the circle and as a group, say everyone's name together.
  • 3. Sing: ;The Name Chant; or ;Everybody Stand up Tall.;
  • 4. Ask the children if they can remember what country their ancestors came from. Ask the children what country they live in now.
  • 5. Share the American flag with the children. Count the stripes and stars together.
  • 6. ;The American Flag is the symbol for our country, the United States of America. Sometimes it is called America, or the USA. Those are different names for the same country. There are fifty stars on our flag. Each star represents, or stands for a state in our country. The state we live in is _________. There are thirteen stripes on our flag. Each stripe counts for one of the thirteen colonies that were the original states when our country was born.;
  • 7. Sing: ;This Land is Your Land; or ;This Little Light of Mine.;

  • 8. ;Now, we have a color flag game to help us learn about the colors in our flag.; (From Hap Palmer record: Learning Basic Skills Through Music AR 514 Vol 1. Original words and music by Hap Palmer.) Hand out red, blue, green and yellow flags to all the children.
  • ;Let's listen to what this song says and follow the directions. It will tell us to stand up or sit down. Let's all try that now. We will need to listen very carefully. Look at what color your flag is. When you hear your color name, then stand up or sit down according to what the song says.;
  • 9. Ask for favorite songs from the children and sing them.
  • 10. Close the circle with: ;The More We Get Together.;

Parent Education Session 4

Preparation: ;Name and nationality.; Write this topic title on chart paper or chalk board. As parents enter the room, have the Wee Sing Around the World audiotape playing. Write on newsprint, ;SIGN IN, PLEASE! Please write your entire name on this newsprint.; Provide thin-pointed markers for participants to write their names. As soon as everyone is assembled, turn off the tape.

  • 1. Greeting: ;Shalom! Bonjour! Buenas Tardes! G'day! Guten Tag! Cio! Nyob zoo! We are ready to begin. Today our topic is 'Being and Belonging.';
  • 2. Names Group instructions:

a. Say your entire name as it is written on the newsprint, as well as the full name of your child.
b. If you know how to say hello in one of the languages of your family's origin, please do.
c. State something you believe about names.

  • 3. Discussion and questions: How/why does your name hold importance to you? What do our names give us? What does our language of origin give us?
  • 4. Name art: Some of you did Name Art cards with your child today. Please share your creation and your ;name story; with the group, if you have one. For example, you might tell us the significance or meaning of your name, whom you are named after, and so on. You might also tell us about your choice of colors (if you provided colored glue).
  • 5. Think about the activities you and your child just worked on together. What did you notice about your child's interest in or reaction to one of the activities? (flags, color name art, songs)

Parents focus on children's feelings or discussion during interaction time activities. Parents interpret children's reactions.

  • 6. How does a name relate to selfconcept?

Parents make connections between who they are known as and how they know themselves. Names identify who we are to others.

  • 7. Nationality: ;We are addressing the 'Right to a name and nationality,' during this session. We just talked about our own names and how our names may affect us. Now let's talk about how our nationality impacts our lives. We often take our nationality for granted, rather than recognize how powerful an impact it has on how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and how we see the world. For example, the Pledge of Allegiance is a defining document for us in the United States. Does everyone know it?; If not, recite it for them.
  • ;Does anyone want to share their thoughts about this pledge? . . . How does this pledge describe us?. . . What does it say about our nationality? . . . How do we feel about that?;

Invite open discussion. Remind participants, if necessary, to appreciate each person's contribution.

  • 8. Brainstorming activity: Collective identity

a. Write the word ;nationality; on the chalkboard and give parents time to reflect on its meaning. Chart their responses.

b. Together identify as many things as possible that we share because we live in the United States. Make a list. When finished say, ;This list tells us about our collective identity. Are these things that make you proud that you live in this nation?
c. List things people wish were not part of our collective identity.

  • 9. Brainstorming activity: Standing up for one's country

Ways we typically stand up for the country we consider our homeland. (List.)

Ways we listed that we can use while also honoring the rights of people in other countries.

Put a star by the few that meet this criteria. For example, we may stand up for our country by going to war to protect her. However, this criteria would not receive a star because it is not good for other countries. When we stand up for our country through peaceful means we can show our support for our country without showing disrespect for other countries.

"How we can stand up for our country in ways that teach our children about compassion, embracing differences, peacemaking, and so on, and generally role model what we want them to learn?"

"How can we impact our collective identity and make a statement about who we want to be in this country, while standing up for our country?"

  • 10. Summary: ;Human beings have a basic need to belong. They must know themselves and how they fit into the world. They must know who they are and to whom and what they belong, or of what they are a part. For these reasons, having a name and a nationality are basic human rights. When these rights are honored, children can know themselves and their country. Through developing a deeper understanding of their name and their nationality, they can go beyond blind acceptance of that identity and learn to question it. This questioning is part of our identity in this country.
  • ;Our children, and we, their parents, can make a difference for our homeland by standing up for what is right, knowing that part of our collective identity is honoring liberty and justice for all. In this way we increase our respect for ourselves, and we impact the collective identity in positive ways.;

  • 11. Journal Assignment:

a. What are those things you hope your child values about his or her family or about his or her country?

b. While listening to Raffi's "Like Me and You" song:

Reflect on the music and words to this song;

Record some thoughts about your child's name and your family's national ties.


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