Students of all grade levels at Manorhaven Elementary School in Port Washington kept a 26-year-old tradition alive with a variety of hands-on activities during Cultural Studies Week. The country of study this year was Switzerland.
Cultural Studies Week attempts to transform the school to look, act and feel like the country of study, making the experience as realistic as possible. This includes coordinating activities that replicate everyday life in Switzerland, from commerce to recreation to music and even popular food.
Manorhaven’s library was decorated with a snowy Switzerland backdrop as students created Swiss clocks from paper plates, went skiing down the Swiss Alps on Xbox, visited a Swiss bank and used Swiss francs that had been stored in safety deposit boxes to buy goods at the nearby Swiss market. An interactive mapping station was set up so students could study Switzerland’s geography and visualize the landscape. In the “ski lodge,” library media specialist Maryellen Noone read to children about Switzerland. Noone and parent Lainie Leber served as cochairs for the week’s activities.
The festivities also included food workshops in which students made cheese and dipped fruit skewers in chocolate fondue (a Swiss creation). There were also hands-on workshops on Swiss scientific advancements, Swiss folk dancing in the gym, Swiss art and language, music and more.
Accordion player Dominic Karcic stopped by to perform Swiss songs for students while world-renowned yodeler Christophe Grieder entertained families during Open House night. An opening day assembly was held in which the chorus sang popular American songs and added a Swiss twist to them. Fredda Meltzer’s kindergarteners performed a routine with Swiss flags, the Manorhaven Players (comprised mostly of ESL teachers) performed a fun language skit about traveling through Switzerland and students took a virtual train ride through the Swiss Alps.