A primary curriculum focus of The International Preschools is to celebrate the cultural diversity in our families and in our world. In October, our Green (3s), Pre-K (4s), and Junior K (4s/5s) classrooms begin with studies of families (i.e. how many people are in our families, how many brothers/sisters we have) and ourselves (i.e. eye color, hair color, skin color). Classes incorporate the study and awareness of the flags that each family identifies with as well. Our school-wide United Nations Day celebration officially kicks off the IPS international unit, known as Culture Shares. The international curriculum runs simultaneously with, not in place of, units on fall, winter, transportation, farms, spring, and the like.
Read on to see how IPS fuses the international study into our play-based learning experience!
Throughout the school year, parents and/or family members of each child will visit the classroom to participate in what IPS calls a “Culture Share.” This is where the students learn about a particular child’s culture and/or family traditions. Sometimes, the culture shares revolve around a holiday that the family celebrates; for others, the culture share centers around a tradition that the family participates in. The visit usually lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and can involve books, games, dancing, music, food, or other activities.
A variety of holidays have been celebrated in recent years, including Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, Lunar New Year, Feast of St. Lucia, Easter, and others. Some examples of culture share activities include going on an Easter egg hunt; lighting candles for Hanukkah; learning a traditional dance for Diwali; and making Christmas ornaments. Because family traditions are also celebrated during culture shares, IPS has also had parents come in and simply make pancakes with the class; any tradition that represents a child’s family is welcomed and appreciated! In other cases, family members have visited school to teach the children about their jobs. Recently, an IPS dad came to school to teach about his job as a United Nations peacekeeper. The children (and teachers!) were fascinated to learn about what each medal on his uniform stood for, as well as what his job as a peacekeeper entails.
The school community incorporates community service and other special days into daily learning to continue building awareness of the world around us. One class recently celebrated World Children’s Day on November 20th; both locations participate in and learn about UNICEF collection in the fall, where students hear about what UNICEF does for children around the world.
We are looking forward to many more culture shares throughout the 2019-2020 school year!
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