Workshop Wednesday: Learning All About Flags

12 October 2011

As children go into Year 1 they start to learn about the various countries in the world. Flags and countries go together. It is difficult to explain the concept of a flag and what it is for without also talking about what a country is.

Trying to explain that yes, we live in England and that is a country but we also live in the United Kingdom is a whole other conversation. And if anyone has any tips to actually get that concept across to a six year old, I'll be very grateful.

This project is fun, and it also ties in with the national curriculum. So a winner all round! My son got a book on flags, so we decided to spend an afternoon making some.

For this you will need:

  • straws or sticks (we adapted bamboo skewers)
  • A4 sheets of white paper
  • sticky tape
  • crayons, pencils, or felt tip pens

To make the flags, we folded the sheets of A4 in half, and stuck them together to make them a bit stiff. After I had cut the pointy bits off the bamboo skewers, we taped them to the edge of the paper flags.

My son and his friend chose their favourite countries, which were Egypt and New Zealand, and they also made a flag up of their own. It was a great opportunity to look at the flag of a country, and talk about what makes it up and what each element is meant to represent.

The New Zealand flag, for example, has the Union Jack on the top left hand corner. The boys were curious as to why a country would have another country's flag on their own flag. And that opened up another topic of conversation.

Our British colonial past came up again when we discussed the Egyptian flag. The red stripe at the top represents the time before the Revolution, when the country was ruled by a monarchy and British occupation. With the black band at the bottom representing the oppression felt by the people of Egypt under that system of governship.

The boys were particularly impressed with the golden Eagle of Saladin.

Incidentally, if you're thinking that Egypt might be a strange choice, the boys' school has an ancient Egyptian theme to it, with a sarcophagus in the foyer of the school office, large silver Egyptian cats either side of the stage in the hall, and other artifacts dotted about.

What do you think?

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