General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 15 Dec 2017/4 Flower
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2017 Mexican Crafts Workshops
2017 Mexican Crafts Workshops
In place of our old Tócuaro programmes we now run in-school sessions for children to make and decorate traditional Mexican crafts. Ask us for details!
The Horta family (2005)

Our Tócuaro programme

A cross between a workshop, a demonstration and an illustrated talk, our ‘Mexico Today’ schools workshop (half day) programme is aimed at Years 1/2 and is ideal for numbers up to around 60. Much beyond that and we run out of clothes, musical instruments and control!! Having visited the Horta family ourselves a few years ago, we can include material specifically on Tócuaro.

By the end of the morning dozens will have dressed up...
By the end of the morning dozens will have dressed up... (Click on image to enlarge)

All the children will take direct part in the session, which now focuses on the preparations for Mexico’s biggest, most colourful, annual festival - the ‘Day of the Dead’ (which features in the Tócuaro Teachers’ Park) - with glimpses of family life, schools and children working, food and diet, traditional clothing, music and dance, craft making...

Team member Vanessa Guevara in action
Team member Vanessa Guevara in action (Click on image to enlarge)

The photo, top (2005 - click to enlarge) of the Horta family by Kevin Cook shows (L to R) Ana María (mother), Ana Laura (daughter), Gustavo (father), Angélica (daughter), Neri (son), Guadalupe (grandmother) and Mario (son). The grandfather Jesús died in 2004.

Tócuaro CD pack
Tócuaro CD pack

We recommend, to support your teaching work on the locality of Tócuaro, that you seek out the CD-Rom/Activity Pack produced in 2002 by Strawberry Hill Enterprises. Kevin Cook, co-author of the original pack, returned to Tócuaro during 2005 and again in 2008. The original pack - and support materials - is still available from the Geographical Association (link below).

Team member Joanna Sotres teaching the music for La Raspa
Team member Joanna Sotres teaching the music for La Raspa (Click on image to enlarge)

Our current programme (2013-14) consists of:-
• Introduction
• Meeting the team and their connections with Mexico
• A look (with slides) at Mexico City, including the story of its founding (as the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan - hence explanation of the Mexican flag)
• Exploring a typical school day in Mexico
• A look at some traditional Mexican toys
• A look at some of the most common jobs that children often undertake daily in Mexico, alongside school
• How women carry and look after babies in Mexico (traditional style) (with participation)
• A look at foods original to Mexico
• Where food words such as chocolate, tomato, avocado come from (Aztec words)...
• A look (with slides and artefacts) at the major Day of the Dead Festival (Mexico’s biggest festival); Graciela’s family altar (‘ofrenda’)

La Raspa ‘in full swing’ at The Beacon School!
La Raspa ‘in full swing’ at The Beacon School! (Click on image to enlarge)

... • Singing a simple song about the volcano Popocatépetl (all)
• A telling of the ancient myth of the two volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl (love story) (with participation)
• A look at traditional food preparation methods in Mexico (with participation)
• Workshop activities in groups: Eyes of God weaving, paper cut making, paper flower making, learning a traditional Mexican folk dance, learning the (percussion) music for this dance
• All dress up in Mexican clothes
• All participate in a traditional Mexican folk dance (‘La Raspa’).

Mexican mothers do at least two jobs at the same time!
Mexican mothers do at least two jobs at the same time! (Click on image to enlarge)

Several teachers have asked us for a recording of the folk dance - La Raspa - that we teach in our Tócuaro programme: below is a link to one downloadable version, played by the band Mariachi Azteca. Ian used to play with them in a previous life!

Feedback:
Very high [educational value]: we couldn’t have offered the same, authentic experience ourselves and the children were fully engaged throughout... All [3] members of the team were extremely engaging, kind and supportive. Children really warmed well to you all - even children that are normally quite withdrawn were keen to participate... Thank you SO much, it was fantastic! (Vigo Village School, Kent, October 2013).

The word Tócuaro should be pronounced with the accent on the first syllable: click to hear ...

Link to La Raspa played by Mariachi Azteca
Geographical Association website
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