For two days in November, students at PS 151 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, traveled the world without leaving their building.
Passports in hand, they admired sculpture in Nigeria, sampled delicacies of the Middle East, spoke French while gazing at the Eiffel Tower and smelled the spices and fingered the prayer rugs of Jordan. The teachers were treated to — and mighty grateful for — the strong, sweet kick of Turkish coffee.
The entire school — principal, 30 teachers and 10 paraprofessionals — created the eye-opening travel portal for students and parents to step through.
Last year’s International Multicultural Day event, which was the school’s first, was such a smash that this year’s was doubled to two days. Parents and students traveled from country to country (commonly known as classrooms) immersing themselves in the language, art, food and culture of each land.
“It’s our obligation to bring these experiences to our kids because we are a Title I school and many of our students may never leave a five-block radius,” said PS 151 Chapter Leader Deborah Sherman, whose 1st-graders staged “The Fox and the Grapes,” one of Aesop’s Fables. “They learn to respect and embrace differences and to understand that our country is one great melting pot.”
The kids were curious and quickly adapted to each country. “I liked best when the Greeks were teaching us about the games,” said 3rd-grader Majed. “The beanbag-toss Olympics made me feel very happy.”
Saul, 9, felt a familiar and familial pride when he entered the (classroom of the) Dominican Republic and was handed a Morir Sonando (“To Die Dreaming,” in English), an ice-cold concoction made of condensed milk, sugar, water, orange juice and crushed ice. “It reminded me of when I visited my aunt, grandma, grandpa and uncle,” he said.
Several countries may receive future visitors from PS 151. “I loved Nigeria!” rhapsodized 4th-grader Enderly. “I saw a video of how they shake and dance. I am going to Nigeria when I grow up.”