Article: Exploring Your Culture Day

Exploring Your Culture Day

Student sharing cultural artifacts with classmates

Every family has their own traditions, ethnicity and heritage. Each family member is shaped by cultural activities, foods, customs, arts and beliefs. The first Exploring Your Culture Day at the Middle School encouraged Churchville-Chili students in grades 5-8 to reach out to family members, learn about their unique backgrounds and proudly share their stories with others.

The results were spectacular. In just one sixth grade classroom, students discovered deep family roots from places as far-ranging as Macedonia, Turkey, Poland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, England, France and Jamaica. One student shared her family’s antique Native American horn rattle and hand-beaded baby moccasins. Another student displayed a vintage book printed in German featuring photos from Passau, the town her ancestors came from.

Students had two weeks to collect information and visuals that represented their family history, heritage, values, language or religion. Each created a special project highlighting family culture – a poster, digital slide or collection of artifacts – and then presented their family story to classmates. Students broke into small groups to discuss why understanding their culture and that of their classmates is important in fostering positive relationships. Ideas for continued recognition of other cultures were also shared.

The experience was designed by the Middle School Equity Team to help students feel safe, respected and more connected to one another and to the adults in school. The Equity Team includes over twenty faculty members working to promote diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the year.

“Just as every student belongs to their individual family, they also belong to our school family,” said Red House Administrator Megan Wideman. “We want to create an environment here where everyone is welcomed and affirmed, and differences are celebrated every day, not just on Culture Day.”

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