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Seaford Manor Students go on a Global Journey

International Week is a time that students and staff look forward to each year at Seaford Manor Elementary School as an opportunity to celebrate the school’s families and their cultures.

This year’s International Week was celebrated from Jan. 7-11. It featured special activities in art, library, music and physical education along with guest presenters. Many parents visited classrooms throughout the week to share family customs and traditions.

Art teacher Jamie LaSota planned activities for each grade inspired by international artists. To honor Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, second-graders created still life images of a vase with flowers using different techniques including watercolor painting and collage. First-graders learned about Japan and made cherry blossom paintings while fourth-graders created mosaics in the style of Spanish artist Antoni Gaudi.

In music, teacher Rich Adams taught students several cultural dances including Los Tachos from southern France, a Swedish square dance called Gustav’s Skoal, and Sicilian Tarantella, a traditional Italian dance. Physical education teacher Ken Botti taught students in kindergarten through second-grade how to play Koolchee, an Australian ball-throwing and hitting games. Third- through fifth-graders learned Tchoukball, a team sport developed in Switzerland.

Librarian Samantha Simon hosted a presentation for third-graders. Donna Rosenblum, executive director of Reason2Smile, spoke about the work her organization does to help fund a school in Mtwapa, Kenya. She also shared a new book, “Neema’s Reason to Smile,” an empowering, fictional story about a girl who attends the Jambo Jipya School. The back of the book features real students from the school who describe their hopes and dreams.

Students throughout the school created passports with information about their ancestral heritage, family traditions and places in the world they would like to visit in the future.

Principal Debra Emmerich said that traditional school international celebrations would primarily be centered around food. At Manor, it has evolved into a full week of learning activities with hands-on projects, guest presenters and virtual field trips.

“International Week is a great way for our families to become actively involved with their child’s education,” she said. “We provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures first hand and the students find it fascinating. They are proud to co-present with their parents or grandparents and everyone benefits by learning something new.”