“You’re not only exchanging languages, you’re exchanging cultures in the process. Each child comes from a different background. Embrace it.”
By Atiya Artis
According to the school’s website, Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School is the first school in the District of Columbia dedicated to both biliteracy and education for sustainability through project-based learning. Purposefully diverse and culturally inclusive, Mundo Verde was founded to empower students to reach their full potential and give them the skills they need to work together to solve sustainability challenges. Mundo Verde aims to foster high levels of academic achievement among a diverse group of students by preparing them to be successful and compassionate global stewards of their communities. Mundo Verde strives to make learning fun and prepare students to be global citizens and stewards of our environment. The curriculum emphasizes interactive, hands-on, project-based learning that nurtures students’ engagement and motivation for life-long learning.
Last week, the TOMODACHI exchange program visited and completed a community service project, where the six students from Japan put together activities that revolved around Japanese culture and, using the six American students as helpers, shared them with a classroom of young children at Mundo Verde. Upon entering the classroom, all of the volunteers (including myself) felt the energy and optimism in the room. The children were eager to learn, and were unbelievably intelligent. They rotated from group to group, and eventually all engaged in Japanese songs, games, origami, and learning to count. This community service project emphasized the importance of patience and being open-minded and optimistic.
The Big Idea
As a whole, we, the exchange students, were impacted by many things during our experience with the children, but one lesson in particular impacted us the most. That lesson says: ‘You’re not only exchanging languages, you’re exchanging cultures in the process. Each child comes from a different background. Embrace it.’ This quote not only expresses our goal at Mundo Verde, but ultimately sums up our goal while interacting with each other. We all come from different places, and these differences not only define who we are today but it shapes our future. Once we embrace our differences with each other, we will relinquish this spirit into the world, thus creating an atmosphere for others to embrace new cultures as well.