Gingerbread men provide tasty lessons for CCISD’s youngest scholars
By WENDY SLEDD
Special to the Leader-Press
The gingerbread man is a popular symbol during the Christmas season. He is often used to represent the holiday spirit and goodwill. In storybooks, he is always looking for new adventures to try, and he is always having a good time. It is no secret that the Gingerbread Boy is one of the most popular characters for both children and adults.
Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy teacher Becki Cooper and Paraprofessional Kimberley Bryant took advantage of the tasty character’s popularity to improve students’ fine motor skills, increase students’ love of literacy, and share this delicious holiday tradition that originated in Europe.
“We read different versions of The Gingerbread Man: The Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Man 2, The Gingerbread Friends, The Ninjabread Man, and The Gingerbread Twins,” Cooper said.
The gingerbread man has been a popular character in folklore for centuries. There are many different versions of the story, but the basic premise is that a gingerbread man comes to life and goes on adventures.
“To close out the lesson of gingerbread men and the bakery, students made gingerbread dolls from construction paper that they could fill with cookies,” Cooper said. “They used fine motor skills to lace/sew around their gingerbread men. They also decorated gingerbread shaped pancakes for snacks.”
The gingerbread man can be decorated in a variety of ways. Cooper and Bryant included the children’s’ faces on each of their dolls. Teaching the students to lace around the edges of their gingerbread man cookies proved to be a challenge.
“Some students’ fine motor skills are more developed than others. So, the lacing was a little time consuming, but the end result was worth it,” Cooper said. “Some students had a little harder time lacing or sewing their gingerbread dolls together. They loved the dolls when they were completed and were excited to take them home to share with their families.”
Gingerbread cookies began as a custom for the first Queen of England to bake gingerbread-shaped people as a special treat for visitors to her country. It is considered a token of love in Germany when a decorated gingerbread shape is decorated with a ribbon or lacing as the students did.
“I love my gingerbread man,” student Sophia Campos-Allen said.
The gingerbread man originated in the medieval era in Europe where gingerbread was used as a form of currency. Gingerbread was made into the shapes of coins and given to children as a way to teach them about money.