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Promoting Cultural Connection and Caring Through Language Learning

Promoting Cultural Connection and Caring Through Language Learning
Promoting Cultural Connection and Caring Through Language Learning
Katie Kroeger
Promoting Cultural Connection and Caring Through Language Learning

Our Early Childhood Education Principal and the Director of Spanish Program and Accreditation, Maria Rodriguez, asked to take over the Admissions Blog to show us how a Primary Years Programme Unit of Inquiry transcends beyond a Kindergarten (K3) Classroom at the International School of Denver.

I am going to ask you to take the time to picture some vibrant Kindergarten students that are native English speakers. Can you see them? Well done. Now, visualize them learning in Spanish. If you are able to see them, then you are able to see our Kindergarten classes. But this writing is not just about the inspiring story of our two Spanish immersion Kindergarten classes. Its main goal is to tell the story of those two classes that took action and wanted to demonstrate the learning attribute of Caring beyond the classroom. 


In a recent Primary Years Programme (PYP) unit on Relationships, the central idea emphasized that similarities and differences among individuals that create a unique community.  K3 Spanish students, who are navigating the complexities of learning Spanish as a second language, motivated by the PYP learning attribute of Caring, took action in a heartwarming and innovative way. Their mission? To aid indigenous communities in Colombia in their language learning journey. 

The students' project took shape as they recognized the power of language as a bridge between diverse communities. By extending their learning beyond the classroom, they sought to contribute positively to the lives of others. The initiative was not just about supporting indigenous communities in Colombia but also about fostering empathy and understanding among different cultural groups.

A highlight of this endeavor was the collaboration with Angelica Valencia, a co-author of the book "Atane nos enseña."  Ms. Valencia visited the K3 Spanish classes and asked the students to record a special video featuring the students singing the ABC song in Spanish. This collaboration added a layer of authenticity and cultural richness to the project, providing the students with a real-world connection to their learning.

By using their second language skills to support others, the students not only showcased the importance of linguistic diversity but also demonstrated a sense of responsibility and empathy toward their global neighbors.

This initiative exemplifies the PYP's commitment to holistic education, where the students not only learned about the power of language in connecting communities but also experienced firsthand the joy and fulfillment that comes from contributing positively to the lives of others.

As the video recording of the students singing with Angelica Valencia becomes a part of the broader initiative, it serves as a lasting testament to the impact young learners can have when they take meaningful action inspired by the principles of the PYP. This project not only reinforces the central idea of the unit but also highlights the transformative potential of education in building a more caring, interconnected world.


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