Mark Day School
39 Trellis Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903


MATH: Student learn about the mathematics of repeated patterns.

THE ARTS: Students practice the visual art of repeated patterns, learn about color dyeing, and weave their own functional pouch.

SOCIAL STUDIES: Kindergarteners learn about the history of weaving and the origin of particular practices and patterns.

CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY: Students read stories about how weaving in other countries and cultures is similar to and different from ours. Specifically, they study weaving in China, Africa, and Guatemala.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LITERACY (SEL): SEL plays a role during students' field trip to Cedars, where they interact with mentally challenged adults and make the connection between animals and materials like cotton.

CREATIVITY: Students express creativity when they choose the patterns and colors for their pouches.

In the spring, kindergarteners engage in a weaving unit during which they learn about weaving materials and where they originate from, study the art of weaving from cultures around the world, visit Cedars Textile Arts Collaborative, and practice weaving themselves.

The unit begins with a hands-on introduction to weaving using paper strips. As they move toward using fabric strips and then cotton yarn and wooden looms to make pouches, they learn about the mathematics and visual art of repeated patterns. Learning to recognize patterns and to reproduce them builds on visual and tactile skills. Students then read books about weaving in other cultures. For example, The Goat in the Rug is told from the perspective of Geraldine the goat, who is clipped for wool which is then spun and woven on a loom. Other books address themes such as World War II, farm life, and weaving traditions around the world. Students also read books about the history of silk in China and the dyeing process in Guatemala.

To better understand where materials come from, students take a field trip to the Cedars Textile Arts Collaborative in San Rafael, a facility where mentally challenged adults come to learn and work as weavers, organic gardeners, and animal caretakers. Students see animals like alpacas, rabbits, and goats, talk about mohair and wool, and learn that some materials can be plant-based, like cotton and some types of linen. They also witness Cedars residents using large looms and talk with them about their craft, and who come to Mark Day to help kindergarteners with their weaving projects. Over the course of the unit, students also raise silkworms in the classroom to see firsthand how silk is made naturally.