This Friday marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day. A day which brought, for many across our nation, great joy, relief and celebration, for others the return to a "normality" which would look very different to their pre-war lives, and to many, the sadness of loved ones gone forever.
Its so important to teach our children this history... to let them learn the lessons from the past so that some mistakes are never repeated. It's a tough topic for little children, and yet this Friday provides the perfect opportunity for us, as a family, to begin to broach a topic so alien to our littles.
And the best way to do that? To earth it in the personal.
Ava has, over the past year or so, shown increasing interest in my grandparents. Only one is still living. My Granny passed away this time last year, and she mentions her from time to time. My Mum's parents passed longer ago, but their photos can be found around our house. The girls know who they are... they find it fascinating to hear about loved ones who are now "in heaven with Jesus". The war stories that I grew up with first hand will never be passed on to my children unless I do it. This is a new generation of young people, now totally removed from the generation who lived and breathed the Second World War.
To finish we just sat down and read my Nanny's memory book... And Ava questioned more, enjoyed the wartime stories of cycling home in pitch dark blackout, the tales of soldiers camped in the garden, and giggled at her Great-Nanny telling how she'd played teachers as a child and was forever giving the imaginary children the cane...
"probably a good thing I never became a teacher for those poor children's sakes!"
But my favourite line; her one piece of advice to pass on to future generations...
"To give my heart and life to The Lord Jesus Christ and live for Him. I have done this to the best of my ability but I would still like to do more... Wish I had given Him more"
The best lesson to learn from history!
Here are some ideas for helping preschoolers celebrate VE Day this Friday...
* Ask a family member/friend who experienced the war to share some stories
* Take a trip to the library and borrow some age-appropriate books
* Gather some memorabilia together. An old suitcase and a teddy bear would help you tell the story of evacuees
* Spend an afternoon playing evacuees... Dress up... What would you pack in your case? How would you feel?
* Explore online resources - Twinkl has lots of lovely resources to download for free.
* Throw a VE Day Party - lots of red, white and blue!