Manorhaven Elementary School in Port Washington continued an annual tradition of Cultural Studies Week — this year delving deep into Japanese culture with a fair filled with fun, hands-on activities.
Manorhaven’s library was a center of activity as it was transformed into a Shinto shrine (built by a parent) where students gathered to listen to Japanese folklore. While there, children also connected with nature by creating their own mini Zen gardens, practiced the art of origami, made Kabuki masks and learned about the country’s geography, all through rotating stations.
Nearby, in the school’s cafeteria, students learned to used chopsticks to dine like the Japanese and also made rice balls, a Japanese delicacy. The school gymnasium hosted karate and Japanese dancing lessons to help strengthen student bodies and minds.
Representatives from the Long Island Science Museum visited classrooms to speak on the importance of volcanoes, seismic technology, wildlife and advancements in Japanese technology, allowing students to program Dash robots to emphasize this point. Japanese culture, geography, language, music and religion were also explored through different activities. Students even combed the hallways to collect interesting facts and artifacts during a Japanese scavenger hunt.
Manorhaven’s Japanese students performed a special song during the week’s opening-day ceremonies, and Japanese folk, dance and martial arts performers Ryu Shu Kan closed out the week with a special performance of their own. There was also a family night, highlighted by a drumming performance by COBU, led by Yako Miyamoto from the Broadway show “STOMP.”
Parent Lainie Leber and Manorhaven ENL teacher Bridge Green co-chaired the Cultural Studies Week committee, organizing activities and connecting with the many parents who volunteered to make the event interesting and informative for the students.
“Manorhaven Cultural Studies Week is a long-standing tradition that is treasured by students, staff members and even those parents who participate,” said Superintendent Kathleen Mooney. “On behalf of the district, I thank all of the Manorhaven teachers and parents who worked together to provide this authentic cultural experience to our young students.”