1st grade students studied China and it's holiday traditions

As a way to learn more about their students and colleagues, the Guilford Elementary staff organized Christmas Around the World, with the countries representing the cultures of Guilford families. Each grade level (community) was assigned a country to research, and students then created displays to represent how that country celebrates Christmas. 

First grade students created artwork to represent the Chinese holiday traditions

Colleen Perry, principal of Guilford Elementary, describes the reaction as teachers explained what Christmas Around the World would mean. “I wish you could have seen their eyes light up when students realized they were going to transform their community into the country where one or more of their classmates were born.” Grade-level assignments were as follows:

  • Kindergarten - United States
  • First Grade - China
  • Second Grade - Haiti
  • Third Grade - Mexico
  • Fourth Grade - Nigeria
  • Fifth Grade - India

In second grade, students studied and created projects reflecting the traditions of Haiti

A classroom assistant, Mrs. Bello, is from Nigeria, so she dressed in its green and white colors and took part in the live announcements along with other 4th grade students. She was able to share personal insights into the customs, while helping the whole school learn more about her native country. 

To facilitate the day’s activities, students received an airline ticket and passport. Their ticket guided them on a tour of each country. Before that, 5th grade students presented a live broadcast, where the reporters visited each community to interview students about the designs, foods and traditions observed by the country. Students were interviewed and described many of the holiday traditions unique to the culture. 

As just one example of the excitement this project generated among students, 4th graders asked if they could stay after school a few days to transform their community into Nigeria. Thanks to their teachers, they were able to do so. 

As visitors enter the 4th grade community, they are welcomed with colorful signs and decorations that reflect what you might find in Nigeria

While the holiday spirit will be abundant in all schools this week (stay tuned for updates on what other schools are doing), the Christmas Around the World experience was a wonderful beginning, and an important reminder that our friends and neighbors often have traditions that differ from our own. It’s a special opportunity when you get to learn about those traditions, and even greater when you can help celebrate them. 

More photos from Christmas Around the World:

Kindergarten (United States)

An iconic gingerbread home greets visitors to the Kindergarten community

Kindergarten students painted their own reindeer shirts for their Reindeer Games activity

Cookies with Santa is an important tradition in many American families

Kindergarten students designed their own Christmas cards, another important tradition from the United States

First Grade

Upon arriving in China, visitors were invited to engage in several activities designed to help create greater understanding of its culture.

5th grade reporters interviewed several first grade students about their discoveries as they studied the holiday customs of China

Second Grade - Haiti

Artwork and artifacts greeted visitors to Haiti, which was hosted by the 2nd grade community

Third Grade - Mexico

Bright, welcoming colors and intricate designs reflect the spirit of the Christmas holidays in Mexico

Fourth Grade - Nigeria

In 4th grade, students included maps, foods and designs as they created a community that reflects the Christmas season in Nigeria

Nigerians celebrate Denali, which bears many similarities to the Christmas traditions observed in the United States.

5th Grade - Diwali

In India, many Hindus celebrate Diwali, which is a Festival of Lights