Nursery/Preschool/Kindergarten Thematic Unit: Unit Scope and Introduction

We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can't speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees. — Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation

Unit Scope and Sequence: 

Introduction to Kindergarten Operation Water Spirit Thematic Unit

  • Focus Questions
  • Introduction
  • Subject Area(s)
  • Student Learning outcomes
  • Student Assessment
  • Accommodation Options

Day One: First Nation Creation Stories

  • Creation Story: The Origin of Earth

Activities/Learning Stations

  • Messy Table: Gluep
  • Cut and Colour Table: Islands
  • Creative Art Table: Island Bird
  • Physical Play: Chief Eagle and Crawfish
  • More Activities
  • Eagle and Crawfish Chant
  • Crab Cracker Critter

Day Two: Water is in us and all around us

  • Creation Story: Turtle Island

Activities/Learning Stations

  • Messy Table: Mud on a Turtle’s Back
  • Cut and Colour Table: Water Experiment
  • Creative Art: Turtle Craft
  • Physical Play: On Turtle’s Back Poem

Snack Time Ideas

  • Snack: Turtles Sweet
  • Snack: Turtles Healthy
  • Extra Activity: Crystal Rock Garden
  • Extra Activity: Bird Feeder

Day Three: First Nation Medicine Wheel Teachings

  • Story Time

Activities/Learning Stations

  • Messy Table: Painting a Medicine Wheel
  • Cut and Colour Table: Medicine Wheel Collage
  • Creative Art: Rock Medicine Wheel
  • Physical Play: Medicine Wheel (Variation of Four Corners)
  • Creation Story: Koluscap and the Water Monster
  • Physical Activity: Making Rain
  • Creative Art: From Dust to Raindrop
  • Oral Language: Four Elements Medicine Wheel Poem
  • Extra: Four Elements Medicine Wheel Prayer

Snack Time Ideas

  • Snack: Medicine Wheel Sugar Cookies
  • Snack: Feast Food Snacks

Day Four: Four Sacred Elements

  • Story Time

Activities/Learning Station

  • Messy Table: Water Play
  • Cut and Colour Table: Medicine Wheel Symbols for Four Sacred Elements
  • Creative Art: Making Paper Medicine Wheels
  • Oral Language: Chinook Blessing

Snack Time Ideas

  • Snack: Dirt/Earth Cake (No Bake)

Day Five: Respecting Our Water

  • Story Time

Activities/Learning Stations

  • Messy Table: Water Fun Mixtures
  • Cut and Colour Table: “Water” Colour
  • Creative Art: Water World Globes
  • Physical Play: Water Relay

Snack Time Ideas

  • Snack: Turtle Island Salad

Additional Unit Resources

  • Playdough Recipes
  • Cyclone Experiment
  • Muskrat in Water Craft


  • Turtle
  • Muskrat
  • Turtle Back/Medicine Wheel
  • Shapes for a Turtle


Focus Questions:

  • Why is water important?
  • Is there an endless supply of water?
  • Would we be able to live without water?
  • Can anything, living, live without water?

Introduction: The purpose of this unit is to provide young students with an opportunity to learn about water and how it is viewed from an Aboriginal perspective. Water is a sacred element. All life needs water, without water there would be no life. This unit will examine the Creation stories of First Nations people. This unit will briefly introduce the four sacred elements and their purposes in the world. Students will have the opportunity to view a medicine wheel and learn a little about the teachings of the medicine wheel. Children will be given the opportunity to experiment with water in its liquid and solid states. Students will discover that water is in and all around us and that without water there could be no life. The duration of this unit is six full days or twelve half days.

Subject Area(s): Language Arts, Visual Arts, Drama, Social Studies, Health, Science

Students Learning Outcomes:

  • Listen to Creation Stories and reflect on them
  • Understand how important water is to life on earth
  • Share their responses in circle time with the class

Student Assessment: Student assessment will be done by participation.

Accommodation Options

  • Learning Assistant Students
    • If you have children in your class that require learning assistants or are in pull out programs, we recommend these students work within the classroom with the rest of the students. In order to do this, it is beneficial for the student to have their own, or a shared, learning assistant. By including students with special needs you are developing an inclusive classroom. Avoid having the students who are categorized as “Special” taught separately in these units because this is not only detrimental to their development, but disadvantageous to all of your students’ development (Beauchamp et al., 2000:81).
    • Homogeneous grouping is recommended for group work and research.


  • Highly-Capable Students
    • Provide students with the opportunity to study at their own level and speed, allowing gifted students to stay in the classroom with fellow classmates but also providing them with challenge in their daily work (Beauchamp et al., 2000:86).
    • Since studies have shown that the greatest academic gains have been made when 5 gifted students work together, provide the gifted students in your classroom with the opportunity to work together when conducting research and group discussions (Beauchamp et al., 2000:86).

Provide all students with an opportunity to gain extra marks for creativity.: Gain extra marks for creative writing assignments and drama productions.

Give a bulletin board to develop and update throughout the thematic unit.