What do Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa have in common?
The answer: Peck students!
On April 5, the Peck community “visited” Africa during our spring World Cultures Assembly, hearing about everything from the food and music, to the dress and traditions, to the language and history of each of these five unique countries.
“We hold two World Cultures Assemblies per year, and we’re so fortunate to have the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures,” said Lower School Head Nina Sharma to the assembled students and faculty. “What better way to learn, and to value and appreciate so many different cultures, than from the families who are right in our own community?”
Upper School Music Teacher Sebastian Guerrero opened the assembly with a jazzy drum routine that roused students into an impromptu call-and-response. “The drumming that I play is from Cuba and Brazil and Peru, and it is deeply influenced by sub saharan african drumming,” he said. “And I also wanted to thank you for participating with clapping because, in this music, everybody’s a participant—so move, clap, sing!”
With the energy level high, the student presentations began. Each of the five countries was explored by a student (or students) who share that country’s heritage; students personalized their presentations by sharing family traditions, photos from visits, and language.
For example, fifth-grade twins Laila and Adam S. demonstrated a conversation in Arabic. First grader Aleera A. taught the audience how to say a few Swahili phrases (spoken in Kenya)—”Harambe” (“let’s pull together,” the official Kenyan motto), “Jambo” (“hello”), “Mzuri sana” (very good), “Safari” (trip), and “Hakuna Matata” (a phrase which was met by several kindergarten voices loudly singing “it means no worries!”)
“Culture is one of the most important factors that help us connect with others,” said parent and Parents Association World Cultures Chair Sarah Sakr. “It provides us with shared values, beliefs, and traditions that allow us to better understand and communicate with each other.”
The Peck School, in collaboration with its vibrant Parents Association, has been hosting World Cultures Events for nearly 30 years, providing a fantastic opportunity for community members to share cultural experiences, heritage, and family traditions with each other. World Cultures programming operates as a joint partnership between the school and Parents Association.
With assemblies occurring twice per year (and a spring festival highlighting cultures around the globe), our World Cultures events foster learning not only about each other, but also about the wider world in which our K-8 students will grow and thrive.