Primary International Week provides an opportunity for our community to showcase the magnificent unique countries and cultures that we hold close to our hearts. Throughout the week, our BIS children widen their understanding of others’ cultures and home traditions, they develop their knowledge of countries beyond their home and host countries and they celebrate the successes and achievements from their own and their friends’ countries. For these reasons alone, our community comes together to put on this great week. The learning that evolves from such a week is paramount for our children to develop into outstanding Global Citizens who thrive in an environment where we learn together. These two characteristics form part of our BIS Aide Memoire – our mission and vision for not only our BIS children but also our whole community.
Our international celebrations began with our special Opening Assemblies - on Friday last week at the Early Years and Infant Campus and on Monday for the Junior Campus. The Junior Campus celebrations began with the always popular flag entrance where our Year 6 students proudly entered the gym and presented to the crowd the 41 flags which celebrate the nations represented on the Junior Campus.
At both opening ceremonies, we were treated to a dance spectacle by some of our Indian parents, which was themed around welcoming good days that hold lots of prosperity and joy. They demonstrated just how colourful their culture is and we cannot thank them enough for all the hard work and preparations that went into the performances for us, and hopefully, this is a tradition that remains for a long time.
With learning central to the week, an “International Experience” was set up in the sports hall at the Early Years and Infant Campus around a number of international themes with parents joining to support the children to carry out special activities. Each year group carefully selected a theme to suit their children’s learning and shared a snippet of their week’s experience in class through enquiry based activities in the International Experience. Our F1 classes explored ‘Hot and Cold’, F2 explored the theme of ‘Art Around the World’, F3 developed their understanding of ‘Animals’, Y1 children investigated ‘Continents’ and our Y2 children looked at the ‘Olympics’.
The International Experience took children on a journey from exploring habitats, creating medals for the Olympics to dancing to music from around the world and dressing in traditional dress from other cultures. Thank you to the parents who volunteered their time to the International Experience – you made the event even more special! By the end of the week the children progressed and developed their understanding within the theme that was especially chosen for them by their teachers.
At the Junior Campus, each Year Group was busy preparing their classrooms for visits by other Year Groups and classes during which they were able to share their research into their chosen country or continent. From art around the world in Year 3 through to individual countries being studied by Years 4 and 5, and finally up to Year 6 where classes focussed not on individual countries, but whole continents in order to spread their research skills even further. The classroom visits proved to be extremely popular, and the experiences were enjoyed by all. One of the real highlights, among many, was the Sri Lankan bun eating contest which created a raucous atmosphere up in Mr Andy's Year 4 classroom.
Of course, a real highlight for many was the amazing Global Cafe experience, where almost 1000 BIS HCMC students from Fundinotots to Year 6, and 45 of our community partner children, enjoyed the fabulous flavours, smells and colours of the 28 nations represented over the course of two days. The gym came alive with amazing stalls provided by all of our country representatives; each one highlighting particular aspect of the culture of their home nation. To name but a few, we had traditional temple gates from China and Korea, all the way to a vespa from Italy, "the Olde Sweet Shoppe" from the United Kingdom, a celebration of the first Moon landing from the USA, alpine vistas provided by Germany and Switzerland, and a traditional grass hut from our incredible host nation, Vietnam. From all those that had the opportunity to sample the experience, the overwhelmingly unanimous response was that it was the best ever experienced in the many years of this being a feature of International Week. A HUGE thank you must go out to all of our incredible parents for the months of planning that went into this event, and especially the tireless work done by the PTG, without whom this success would not have been possible.