Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Everybody here comes from somewhere ...

When we decided to come to the Middle East, one of the things we were most excited about was that Bethy, and possibly Thomas, would get to go to school with kids from all over the world. Truly an international experience for them, and one that cannot help but shape their lives. Bethy's school, Gems World Academy's tagline is "Creating World Citizens." For Mike and me, the greatest hope is that our kids become thoughtful adults someday with an understanding of the need for diplomacy and responsibility. Also that learning about differences can be fun, not scary.

Thinking of the book: All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, well, Bethy is going to kindergarten with children named Dhruv and Jae Hyun, Aryzhan and Mohammed, Diego, Tia and Fatima. Of course with the British population there is also a Max, a Lewis, an Alex, and another little Beth, also from the UK, who is her best friend. Two other little girls are from the US as well, 3 out of 20 children in all.

Mrs Potts, Beth and Bethy on Sports Day

Her teacher, Mrs Potts, is British woman who spent many of her young years as an expat kid in the Phillipines. We knew we had a winner when Mrs Potts told the story of going to school in the Philippines and being told that she was spelling words like color (colour) and favorite (favourite) and center (centre) and so forth the wrong way, an upsetting experience for a child. Now she teaches her students that some special words are spelled two ways, and that both are correct.

That's a lesson that can go far in a lot of ways.

Walking into the kindergarten corridor the colorful walls strongly communicate that everyone comes from somewhere, and that each child loves their country and their heritage.

There are posters in pen and crayon that say things like: "I love Iran" and, more formally, "I honor my country and my heritage by preserving traditions"

A recent unit for Bethy's class was all about the beach: types of shells, environmentalism, learning about tides, and a field trip. Each child was supposed to draw a picture of their "Perfect Beach". Here is Bethy's:

It says:

My Beach By Bethy

I am going to the water and it just rained. The sun was shining and now it stopped raining and there is a rainbow. The beach is in Seattle city. My Mom and Dad and brother are on the beach with me.

Someone is also staying true to her roots.


Jeni said...

Love it! I remember reading about you choosing schools and finding what was available there! It sounds like you guys made a great choice (even if the uniforms are outrageous) and she is learning more than the basic academics.

sherrip said...

I love that she is talking about a beach in Seattle vs. one of the beaches in Dubai. Makes me feel warm all over (although of course it is another cool, gray day here, not exactly beach weather...)