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hvl25 09-15-2005 07:28 PM

I'm not sure if I am putting this in the right forum, but here goes. I figure if I'm not it will be moved.

At the PTO meeting last night I noticed no one had signed up to head the Multicultural Committee at my son's elementary school. So I signed on. I wasn't sure what was involved, this is only my second year in the district. When I talked to the PTO president she told me that they have the Multicultural Festival but only every 3 years and there was one last year so basically there is nothing going on this year

We have a huge diversity of students, the largest being Indian, Hispanic, Asian, Afican American. There are others, the district itself as a whole speaks 47 different languages! So, my question is, what ideas do you have for me to get people involved in the rich culture of my kids school? They have such learning opportunies that I feel are wasting away here, but I am at a loss of what to do or suggest. Any ideas?


Tradd 09-15-2005 08:51 PM

Maybe something involving food? I very much enjoy learning about different cultures through their food. Right now I'm working my way through a Middle Eastern cookbook. Yum!

hvl25 09-15-2005 10:50 PM

yea, i have had that brought up, maybe potluck style? i just wonder, how would you know how many people are coming. i guess you could make it an rsvp kind of thing?

velochic 09-17-2005 09:14 AM

My dd attends a language immersion school (it's called International School of Indiana) so she gets immersed into a different language and culture every day, not to mention that the school kids themselves represent several dozen different countries. They are really inventive with ways to put culture in the classroom. Maybe you can start there... talk to the teacher and see if you can find out the countries represented in your kid's class and do something at the classroom level. YOu could ask a parent to come in to give a talk about the country, teach a couple of words in the language, bring in some food of the country, etc. I doubt that you're going to get something done at the school level unless this PTO leader is on board with it. Maybe there are opportunties in the community itself, apart from the school.

Sometimes I am really surprised at how ignorant some people are of other cultures and how disinterested they are in learning. Our parent's generation knew only the cold war in their youth and anything foreign was often considered evil, so I think this is a great idea to bring up this next generation to embrace diversity.

frog 09-19-2005 05:06 PM

Two of my Small Friends attend a very diverse school in our district and there are several family events where kids (and some adults) dress in traditional outfits, bring food to share, and present arts from various cultures. There's one evening a year when everyone is featured, and other smaller events that focus on a set number of cultures at a time.

mags 09-20-2005 03:52 PM


I am asian american and have participated in many multicultural festivals since I was a child. Most ethnic groups have their own organizations or associations within a small region, for example a chinese association of X city, or korean association, etc.. Find out about these different associations (good place is to go to ethnic grocery stores or some of the churches that cater to a certain ethnicity, like my mil is korean and she goes to a korean catholic church) and contact the ppl in charge. You can ask them if they would like to help out with the multicultural festival, and ask what they have done in the past for other festivals (dances, foods, etc.). Anyway, that would be a good place to start and save you a lot of work too, b/c many ethnic groups often do their own festivals, so they have a good idea of what has worked in the past, what ppl like to eat/see, what resources they have available, etc..

siddie 09-20-2005 05:36 PM

Ask parents to help observe important days in their culture in the classroom. Chinese New Year, Chinese New Moon Festival, Japanese Boys/Girls Day, Bastille Day, etc. Parents can bring in a book and snack to complement the book or just show family photos and talk about what happens on that special day in their culture. Kids can do a craft like make the hanging koi fish that parents put outside their homes to celebrate boys day. Cinco De Mayo festival with food, hat dance, Mexican flag. Take field trips to museums with cultural programs or ethnic grocery stores and a volunteer parent to docent. Admission day for Hawaiians can be observed with hula dancing lessons and ukelele music.

I personally think this is more fun for the kids, gets the families involved, and is an ongoing educational experience. International day is fine but in my experience it turns out to be a carnival type atmosphere where everyone overeats and then forgets about it until next year (or in your school's case, for 3 yrs.

OhTheThinks..... 09-21-2005 12:29 AM

Around late October is UNITED NATIONS DAY..........instead of having a Halloween party at school why not have a United Nations Party or event or something.
Have the children ask their parents which culture is predominant in their family and have them come in Costume and bring an ethnic food.
Plan a couple of weeks in advance in case you have to help some kids make paper costumes (even it is just a hat or something) or an easy dish.
I have done this in many places and the teachers and principals all particpate.
This way all cultures are featured not just one, and everyone feels like a world community.

OhTheThinks..... 09-21-2005 12:31 AM

United Nations Day this year is October 24, 2005

velochic 09-21-2005 03:55 PM

Frog... not to take this thread off course, but what are "small friends". I didn't understand that in your post. TIA!!!

bestjob 09-22-2005 02:40 PM

Maybe you could run a Multicultural Math evening, with families visiting and working on different projects together, like a counting song with differnent languages for the younger ones and a few strategy games like Mancala for older kids and parents.

bestjob 09-22-2005 02:45 PM

I'm the first to line up for a potluck dinner, but they don't always work with schools, what with allergies and many people not eating particular foods because of religious or philosophical beliefs.


If your school has a lunch program and if the person managing it were an approachable sort of person, perhaps you could run a recipe project with the winning recipe being a featured special in the cafeteria. The other recipes could be collected in a cook book as a fundraiser for one of the grades.

Crafts are fun to do with different groups and you could have a nice evening working on crafts from different cultures.

miasmami 10-02-2005 10:35 PM

Theres a fun event at a school Im applying to for my dd. The gym is turned into a supermercado with everything labeled in spanish, theres also street food empanada's, tacos, and other easy treats. Add some salsa, and or Celia Cruz and your in business. Oh and some authentic pinata's surely wouldnt hurt. good Luck


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