The tree in our Atrium is decorated with unique, handmade ornaments from holidays around the world. Students from Mrs. Zinn’s fifth grade class recently concluded a special project increasing their global mindedness and celebrating other cultures. A few of the holidays selected included Eid al-fitr (Middle East), Guy Fawkes Day (Britain), Nauryz (Kazakhstan), and Christmas traditions in Sweden.
Day School fosters curiosity and cultural respect in students through our Portrait of a Graduate, and this holiday project was no exception. Ellie Barron shares, “I was looking through holidays to do, and Sweden caught my eye with the yule goat. I really wanted to talk about the yule goat and what St. Lucia’s Day is.”
This multi-faceted project included research about how and why the holiday is celebrated, a presentation complete with visuals and a video demonstrating part of the tradition, and an assignment to create an ornament to represent the holiday. As the students gave their presentations, it allowed their classmates to learn about traditions from around the world, some of which are celebrated by their classmates. “Students are encouraged to bring a part of themselves into the classroom. Each chose a holiday from another country/culture, and the majority of them chose holidays with some familial attachment.” said Mrs. Zinn.
Seraj Hamed chose Eid al-fitr because he celebrates it with his family, but through the project learned that in the Middle East, everyone has the day off. He taught his classmates how to make a popular dessert called kaek. Seraj says, “I think it was a fun project overall, but my favorite part was the ornament.”
Aliah Dukenbaeva also had a familial connection to her holiday. “Since my family is from Kazakhstan, I thought Nauryz would be very interesting to learn about.” Her ornament was a handmade sheep, and she shares, “Sheep in Kazakhstan are used very often because of their versatility and represent happiness.” When asked what she enjoyed most about the project, she responded, “I want to learn the different ways of the world. There are many ways to celebrate things that we maybe do not even know of! That is why we have to stay open minded and prepared for anything.”