Students at Forestville Road Elementary had a unique opportunity last Friday.
Students could ‘visit’ New Zealand, Brazil, Egypt, Poland, Brazil and several other countries just by walking to a new classroom.
The school’s second International Festival introduced students to several different cultures and countries, presented to them by staff or parent volunteers who spent time in the country.
“As a global school, we want our students to see relevance between what they learn in the classroom and the entire world,” said Jean Yost, the school’s English as a Second Language instructor and co-chair of the festival. “While it is not feasible for all students to travel the world, through this festival we can bring parts of the world to them.”
“Our festival gives families and community members the opportunity to share their life experiences and their homelands with our students and faculty,” said Yost, who worked with Spanish teacher Theresa Shea to plan the festival.
In Egypt (a second-grade classroom), a parent volunteer shared family photos of traditional Egyptian dress. She talked about the country’s climate, where it’s not abnormal to have 110-degree summer days and 80-degree summer nights.
In New Zealand, fifth-graders heard a traditional story. And third-graders in Brazil learned about the cultural emphasis on football (American soccer) and Carnival, traditionally held right before Ash Wednesday.
Kindergartners also learned about countries that aren’t across an ocean and don’t require hours of travel.
Nina Emanuel, a kindergarten parent, taught students about the Lumbee tribe. Much of the 55,000-member tribe resides in and around Robeson County and it is the largest recognized Native American tribe in the state. It’s also the ninth-largest in the country.
Emanuel showed the students traditional regalia, like pine cone patchwork that is often sewn onto skirts and aprons. She also taught students some Lumbee vocabulary, like the word “cooter,” which the tribe uses to refer to a snapping turtle.
She also taught the students the Lumbee snake dance, where students held hands and danced in a circle, like a snake.Variations of the dance include creating ‘antler’s to become an ant or flapping arms to become a butterfly.
Forestville Road, which is one of 17 global schools in Wake County, toured the world for the whole day, switching between classrooms to introduce students to as many countries as possible.