Fifth graders will be participating in F.E. Bellows’ three-day Latin American immersion project October 28-30.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Fifth graders will be participating in F.E. Bellows’ three-day Latin American immersion project October 28-30. It’s a kick-off to studying and deepening an understanding of Latin America that includes documentaries, presentations, food, and music.
“We give them a flavor for what they’ll be studying in their social studies classes and library,” said fifth-grade team leader Joyce Pezzola.
Students will view and discuss various documentaries, including “Amazon” and “Children of Many Lands: Elidia’s Story.” Through library resources, they will create Power Point presentations about numerous Latin American countries, give oral presentations, and design a Monopoly game board based on information they researched.
For the first time, Susan McDade, United Nation’s Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean, will be making a presentation. Beforehand, the kids will prepare a wide range of questions regarding cultural exchange and trade development, as well as about her experience living in Latin America and working for the United Nations Development Program.
“We are delighted to have a fresh face, who has lived throughout Latin America, share her experience,” said Pezzola about McDade, a mother of a fifth grader, new to the Rye Neck School District this year. “I suspect the kids will have questions for him, too, and I’m sure she’ll be a great resource throughout the year.”
Another particularly enjoyable part of this cultural immersion is a visit to Latin American restaurants along Mamaroneck Avenue. “This gives the kids who are not from those countries the chance to discover all the cultural enrichment the Latin American kids bring to our way of life. It’s important for those kids to feel a sense of pride,” explained Pezzola.
The three-day event will have a strong finish with a PTSA-sponsored celebration of Latin music and dance in the school auditorium. Returning by popular demand is Surcari, a three-piece band specializing in traditional songs played on indigenous instruments. The “Music with a Latin Beat” program will teach the students interactive games and explore various carnival traditions. “This is the culmination to an immersion project that is a building block of mutual respect,” noted Pezzola.