Aliso Elementary School recently hosted a Culture Night, and students represented countries from five continents: Africa, Asia, North America, South America and Europe. The local Native American culture of the Chumash was also represented. Most of the participating classes gave opening performances of songs or dances (and many combined both) from the country they had researched, then gave brief explanations of what country, culture and language they were representing. Spearheaded by first-grade teachers Erica Lee and Rene Mireles, the goal of the evening was to increase students’ awareness and understanding of world cultures and languages.
Fourth-grade teacher Mary Sibrian said, “(Aliso School has) many students and families with Mexican heritage, and we want students to feel proud of their bilingualism and biculturalism.” Having seen students grow more curious about the world around them and become more accepting of other cultures, languages and food, Sibrian stated that she and her colleagues wanted Aliso School students to “expand their horizons and learn about other cultures from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, to expose them to the beautiful and diverse world we live in.” Teachers Lee, Mireles and Sibrian gave an introduction at the beginning of the event, welcoming participants in Korean, Spanish, Zapotec (a Native American culture of Mexico) and French. “We had food tables from many of the countries represented,” Sibrian explained, “and we wanted students to be open to tasting foods from different cultures. We are so thankful to our amazing Aliso families for coming out and supporting this event, donating food and sharing in this multicultural experience. It was one of the best events I›ve been part of as an educator, and I went home that night feeling so proud of our students and so grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.”