On June 16, 2016 author, Rosabel Fast and Executive Director, Hans Werner traveled to Leamington, Ontario to launch Leaving Canada: The Journey to Mexico, the first volume of “Mennonite History for Young People,” a new series of education materials. The series tells the story of Mennonites who arrived in Manitoba from Russia in the 1870s, and migrated to Mexico and Paraguay in the 1920s and then on to places like Belize, Bolivia, Argentina, Kansas, Southern Ontario, and Alberta over the last 75 years. For the last number of years, the Plett Foundation has been working on a new history series that tells this fascinating story.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a gap in the availability of published resources that could help public and private schools with significant Low German Mennonite student populations teach these students about their own history,” explains Werner. The Plett Foundation then embarked on an ambitious, multi-year project to write a history curriculum aimed at reading levels for grades 1 to 6 that would be able to fill this gap.
The Foundation partnered with Rosabel Fast, who carried the project through from its development to writing the content. Her background in teaching language arts and social studies at the elementary level, along with two graduate degrees, in history and adult education with a specialty in teacher training, made her the perfect candidate for the work involved in producing the “Mennonite History for Young People” series. “I think the result of this partnership, of which this first volume is the start, has achieved our goals,” says Werner. “It is an authentic history text, written for a younger audience and produced in a way that we hope will be engaging for both students and adults alike.”
The “Mennonite History for Young People” series has been developed to be a perfect addition to the existing Social Studies curriculum in Canada and is suitable for both public and private schools with Low German Mennonite students.
The Leamington launch will be followed by launches in Aylmer on July 17 and Kitchener-Waterloo on July 18. To purchase the first volume, Leaving Canada, which tells the story of the move from Canada to Mexico in the 1920s, drop-in at the organizations below or contact the Plett Foundation:
Thrift on Kent, 50 Kent Ave., Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 3R1
MCS Aylmer Resource Center, 16 Talbot St. E., Aylmer, Ontario
Books 2 Fabrics, 25 Oak St. E., Leamington, Ontario
MennoMex, 49919 Talbot Line, Aylmer, Ontario
Village Books & Gifts at Mennonite Heritage Village, 231 PTH 12 North, Steinbach, Manitoba, R5G 1T8
Die Mennonitische Post, 383 Main Street, Steinbach, Manitoba, R5G 1Z4
D. F. Plett Historical Research Foundation, 515 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2E9