Passport to the World teaches elementary kids about diversity

Students viewed sculptures in the Marshall M. Fredericks Museum as part of the Passport to the World event on Thursday, March 22. Vanguard Photo | Nicole Vogelpohl

On Thursday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., SVSU hosted the annual Passport to the World event.

Five elementary schools from the Bay City and Midland area came to the campus to experience different activities from different countries, cultures and ways of life.

Graduate student Sandra Lamarche helped coordinate the event, which allowed the elementary students to “visit other countries” by stopping at activity tables and doing crafts with international students.

“At the tables, they got a chance to hear about a different culture and in some cases do a craft related to that country,” Lamarche said. “Once they were done talking to the international students and doing their crafts, they got a stamp on their passports.”

Students also participated in book readings about what kids in different countries do followed by performances in the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theatre.

Performances included songs and dances from college student volunteers representing Kyrgyzstan, Japan, South Korea and India.

Elementary education senior Lauren Ledesma enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm that the kids brought to the day.

“I loved reading to the children,” Ledesma said. “Seeing them fascinated at other cultures’ activities and seeing the similarities between cultures was amazing as well.”

Lamarche agreed that the event was a success.

“I think the event went really well,” she said. “The elementary school kids seemed to really enjoy the performances put on by the international students and getting their passports stamped.”

For Kathryn Scott, the director of the English Language Program, the event provided an opportunity to get kids thinking about global cultures at a young age and increase their global competency.

“Increasing global competency is always very high on SVSU’s list,” Scott said. “We get to go out to the local schools and teach them about cultures, and they get to come to campus and get an even bigger perspective on what the world is like.”

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