International Day is one of our major cultural enrichment programs. In the beginning of the school year, each class adopts a country or region to explore throughout the year. This country/region is then integrated into the curriculum and the students become familiarized with its geography, history, language, customs, and culture. Through this process, students and teachers together make discoveries and learn about diversity in the world.
The multi-age aspect of this type of learning is enhanced by having students in grades 5-8 collaborate per group and not per grade level on research, preparation and presentation.
The culmination of this learning experience is the International Day Celebration, a full day of “travel around the world” where each group moves from one classroom (or country) to another learning about the other cultures while simultaneously hosting other groups to share their own country. This experience includes passports, passport stamping, sampling different countries’ cuisine, and, arts & crafts.
Past themes have included The World without Borders bringing into focus nations that are not defined by a state such as the Inuits, the Gypsies, the Berbers, the Tibetans, the Maoris, the Aborigines, the Aramaeans, the Mayans, the Catalans, the Quechuans, the Kurds, and the Native Americans. Despite the challenges of finding mainstream research, gathering information via alternate ways teaches the students to become more creative and resourceful researchers.
This year International Day was our way of celebrating diversity by ‘travelling to’ the various island nations, including New Zealand, Galapagos, and Jamaica. Educational opportunities surround us particularly when we open our minds to the experiences and celebrations of the rest of the world.
"Educational opportunities surround us particularly when we open our minds to the experiences and celebrations of the rest of the world." — Shakeh Tashjian