Hilltop Montessori holds Multicultural Festival

MT LAUREL – Hilltop Montessori School students immersed themselves in various cultures on Friday, Feb. 28 for Multicultural Festival.

The special day is held only once every three years at Hilltop, so the students’ hard work and excitement was obvious.

Each class decided on a country to feature then studied the country’s culture for about a month.

“The did substantial research on the food, clothing, religions and geography,” Head of School Michele Wilensky said.

It was up to the classes how they presented their country’s culture in a way that other students could learn about it.

Students were given passports that were stamped upon entering the various classrooms.

Hilltop has about 40 families from other parts of the world, so the teachers and students tapped into their knowledge for inspiration, including a visit from a Hilltop parent who is a flamenco dancer.

“We teach diversity and inclusion, and what we’re doing is showing the kids that the world is bigger than Birmingham,” Wilensky said.

In the room designated as Japan, students drew Japanese characters for “friends” and other words, learned about origami and sat at tables prepared with chopsticks and soy sauce where they were served veggie sushi and green tea.

In Chelsea Calhoun’s classroom, Ayah Ben Jazia, Livie Kicker and Clara Spensley told visitors about the French fairytale tradition while dressed as characters from fairytales, while Alex Mendell talked about the Eiffel Tower.

Other countries featured included Puerto Rico, Italy and Tunisia.

In Stephanie Kirkpatrick’s classroom, student Arya Calhoun told visitors about New Zealand’s Huka Falls. The students presented many other interesting facts about the country, including information about pops made from Manuka honey, which is considered a superfood.

“We had a hard time deciding what we were going to do,” Calhoun said.