Since the beginning of the new year, students at Alexander Park Elementary School (APES) have participated in tastings and cultural events promoting diversity in the school by showcasing traditional dishes from a few of the rich cultures in Golden.
Students explored ways to build tolerance and appreciation for other cultures, and food stood out as a common area of pride and tradition, passed down from one generation to the next, serving as an expression of cultural identity.
In January, students used vocabulary that they learned from their French teacher Krista Fouillard to discuss ingredients they used in their crepe recipes. Teachers shared stories in French and English about French heritage in Canada.
Students learned how to roll their own sushi cones as part of the Japanese cultural event in March. Parents and community volunteers prepared the ingredients, with help from Nagomi Sushi owners Tonia and Shigenori Nishioka.
Many classes created art projects and tried calligraphy, inspired by the study of Japanese culture. Students Kaela and Michael Brown gave each student a paper crane, handmade by their “obachan,” which means grandmother in Japanese.
In April, elders and hunters from the Golden community spoke to students about hunting and traditional Indigenous foods. Students enjoyed trying dishes including Three Sisters soup, corn bread, and wild rice, which was coordinated by Aboriginal support education worker Leslie Hein and a group of volunteers.
School secretary Navneet Rondeau organized a special field trip to the Golden Sikh Temple to wrap up the multicultural events for the school year. Students tasted chai, dal, and roti.
Back at school, students, parents, and staff of Indian heritage shared other aspects of their culture, such as clothing, dance, and art.
Exploring cultural dishes and learning the stories behind them has opened up a respectful discussion about cultural heritage, and creates more of a sense of belonging and inclusion for students, families, and staff at APES.
The multicultural events at APES were made possible through a grant from Louisiana Pacific Canada Ltd., the APES parent advisory committee, and many volunteers and guests who donated their time and knowledge to the students.