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Community Learning & Cultural Day: A Model from CommuniKids

2015-05-15 10.21.10Our partners at CommuniKids recently wrapped up their school year, but not before teaching their preschool-aged children, who in turn taught their own families, about Little Ripples and their Darfuri peers on the other side of the world. 

CommuniKids’s mission is to prepare young children to become the global citizens of tomorrow by creating a joyful, playful, and nurturing environment that immerses students in a second language. Their model is grounded in cross-cultural learning, so it was a natural fit for their school to encourage learning about their Darfuri brothers and sisters and Little Ripples. Here’s a little more about their model, and perhaps a few ideas for how your school can teach about and raise funds for Little Ripples:

The project at CommuniKids was timed to coincide with the school’s curricular unit on “Friends from Other Countries.” For a week at a time, classrooms were led by a community, parent, or teacher Ambassador from a particular part of the world or country. The students participated in hands-on activities representative of that culture, such as food preparation and tasting, listening to and learning about traditional music, creating art, and more. Each classroom learned about a different culture and the school arranged a time for them to share what they learned, allowing the groups and individual students an opportunity to be a teacher to their peers.

At the same time, parents of CommuniKids students received information about the spotlight culture for each classroom. Every family was invited to attend the Cultural Day event at the school, the proceeds of which would support Little Ripples. We worked with CommuniKids to provide their event organizers with simple handouts, profiles of children, videos they could share, and frequently asked questions about the program.

Cultural Day lasted all morning and was open to the public. Attendees paid a small entry fee, all of which was earmarked for Little Ripples. At the event, each classroom provided artwork, music, or food from their region or country; and the kids engaged with visitors as teachers and cultural Ambassadors. CommuniKids sold art, food, Little Ripples scarves and bags, and offered easy ways for visitors to make donations towards Little Ripples. The proceeds from CommuniKids’s Cultural Day support Little Ripples and help cover teachers’ salaries, the meal program, and essential classroom tools.

This model is simple and engaging, and can be done in any classroom or in-home center. It’s also easily integrated into existing curricular units at most preschools and can be a wonderful, hands-on way to increase learning for students and families while supporting a fantastic project. If you are interested in creating a similar curriculum, please feel free to reach out to me and Wendy from CommuniKids and I would be more than happy to help!

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