Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

From the DRK Kindertagesstätte KUMULUS, Düsseldorf
A project based on the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud

How did the project come about?

Mary (5;4 years old, name changed) is a very talented girl who grows up bilingually (German/English).

In a parent consultation the father expresses his wish that Mary use his mother tongue, American, more frequently in everyday life. He asks for suggestions as to how he could make his language more attractive for Mary.

Subsequently he visits a morning circle and introduces the children to a book written in the English language, while Mary is interpreting for the other children.

This experience inspires Mary and makes it clear to her that it is something special to understand and speak two languages.

Now she wants to give a presentation of the book to all other groups of our kindergarten, which, as it turns out, she does very well.
Later on the subject matter of the book becomes the talk of the group and everybody enjoys “filling” somebody else’s bucket.

Then Mary comes up with the idea of translating the book into other languages. At first she can think of only a few languages (Turkish, French), but by and by more languages come to mind. Eventually we arrive at 13 languages, which are all represented at our kindergarten.

But what’s next, after we’ve actually translated the whole book into 13 languages??? We ask the children during a morning circle. The children want to bind a book of all the translations and also design it themselves.
And they want it to be offered for sale afterwards.

Wow! What an ambitious project the children have taken on there …, now we’ll have to get some help.
Our “buckets” are subsequently being filled by all the parents we ask for help. Thank you all so much!
The illustrations are by Mary and three other girls.

We are quite international.
Our kindergarten hosts children from many nations. With the project we are describing here we want to raise the children’s awareness of that. They are to experience what other languages sound like and what they look like in script. It seems to us, the book Mary has proposed is rather well fit to serve the purpose of promoting the children’s socio-emotional development.

See here the individual pages of the book followed by the children’s suggestions about “how to fill a bucket”.

And these are the ideas that came up during the discussion:

Mary: “If my little sister is looking for her doll and I find it for her, that’s when I’ve filled her bucket. Or … if mom’s got a lot of work at home, I help her. Even with changing diapers. … I’m filling someone’s bucket if he has dropped something and I pick it up for him.”

Marina: “I’m filling the bucket when I set the table at home.”

Miko: I feed the Raupe Nimmersatt [‘The Caterpillar Insatiable’, a popular character in German children’s literature] and I give it something to drink. I help mom and dad at home.”

Emirhan: “I give mom and dad a flower.”

Jacques: “I’m filling a bucket when I’m nice and when I say “hello” to someone.

Maty: I fill a bucket by saying nice words to somebody. Or I help mom when she’s cooking. And when I tidy my room all by myself.”

Leandro: I draw a nice picture for mom and dad – with a plane on it.

Sophia: “I’m filling my sister’s bucket when I’m playing with her.”

Lucia: “I can draw a picture for mom.”

Merle: “I tidy my room, mom loves that. And I fill Gesa’s bucket when I say “sorry” when we had a fight.”

Iven: “I fill mom’s and dad’s bucket when I get dressed all by myself and also when I don’t cry in the morning and in the evening.”

Mino: “I fill buckets when I set the table while mom and dad are still sleeping.”

Helene: “I fill Clara’s bucket when I help her look for her bottle when she can’t find it.”
Talia: “When I plant flowers for mom.”


Date of Publication: 2017, June
Translation (without the picture book): Arno Zucknick
Copyright © DRK Kita Kumulus, Düsseldorf