Students of Manorhaven Elementary School kicked off the new year by celebrating Brazil all week long in their annual Cultural Studies program from Jan. 13 through Jan. 17, as dedicated faculty and diligent parent volunteers immersed themselves in all things Brazil.
The opening assembly on Monday morning began with two professional Capoeira performers engaging the children and showing off their martial art form. They continued the morning with two physical education workshops that got students moving to the rhythms.
“This wonderful Manorhaven tradition is a collaboration between our dedicated PTA, former Principal Dr. Linda Welles and our hard-working staff,” said Principal Bonnie Cohen. “It is always the highlight of the school year. This week was especially high energy as we immersed ourselves into Brazilian culture and learned Samba, Capoeira, Portuguese and so much more.”
According to Mrs. Regan, their physical education teacher, this was the first time in her 24 years teaching in Port Washington that she has seen children practicing dance during even their recess period.
“The Capoeira performance and workshops were absolutely amazing,” Regan said. “The boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade thoroughly enjoyed this dance. The combination of martial arts, gymnastics and dance made it fun for everyone.”
Language, science, and cooking workshops engaged the students and teachers all week long. Children made their own corn muffins, and fruit kebabs dipped in sugar.
They learned how to speak basic words in Portuguese, as well as a counting song. Science workshops took place throughout the week for different grades. Workshops about sugar, vibrations, biodiversity, the Amazon were presented by Caitlin Orellana from the Long Island Science Museum on Plandome Road.
The hallways were adorned with more than 30 bulletin boards on a plethora of Brazilian topics from sports, government, animals, dance, foods, geography, and others. Parent volunteers worked endlessly in creating and arranging their designated boards right from their homes onto the hallway boards. Creativity seems to be a special talent at Manorhaven School.
Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. was a community-wide event when Manorhaven School opened its doors to the whole community to share just what went on during the week.
Classrooms were set up for a science workshop that allowed visitors to discover how natural items in Brazil were originally used to dye fabrics.
The library was opened to show the Amazon Rainforest recreated, the Iguazu Falls and parent-painted murals of the Brazilian villages, beaches and landscape. In the gymnasium was a food tasting and slideshow. Visitors were able to enjoy a taste of Brazilian cuisine rich in beef, pork, chicken, fried plantains, rice and flan all made by Brasa Portuguese restaurant in Mineola.
In the computer room, a slideshow was shown of retired principal Dr. Linda Welles and other staff members who together traveled to Brazil. The night ended with a live cultural dance performance in the Cafetorium by members of the Samba School of New York.
The group came back Monday morning to end the week with a fun-filled concert for the children who got to try their hands at samba dancing and tried out some Brazilian instruments too. Even the teachers got up to perform. It was a wonderful week.