That is the theme for this year’s Lower School Families lessons as the students and their teachers focus on the importance of kindness all year long. To help develop self-identity and promote understanding and empathy for all of the differences that make up the Fort Worth Country Day and broader community, the students not only focused on how they all come together as a Lower School, but also on the fact that their stories and histories come from all different places.
To celebrate each student’s individual heritage, a collective map was created to display in the Lower School Atrium. It started with just one pin, representing Fort Worth Country Day, with the goal of adding pins that represent the rest of the student body. “Understanding individual family histories and backgrounds help us better understand our heritage, customs and family values,” said Chloe Bade Anderson ’05. She, along with the rest of the Lower School faculty, worked with the Families Committee group that oversaw this map-pinning project, which was adapted from a Teaching Tolerance lesson.
Students brought home a worksheet to fill out together with their parents. Questions included:
How does our family’s cultural history contribute to our community?
What cultural tradition(s) is/are most important to our families?
How do different cultures make a community better?
Why did my ancestors come to this country?
Students were encouraged to explore and list where their families are from, thinking of their own parents, their grandparents, their great-grandparents and other relatives whoare important to their family. Ultimately, they had to choose one country on which to place their pin.
In the classroom, teachers led discussions with students about immigration and ancestors. The first-grade teachers read Dan Yaccarino's All the Way to America to learn about his family’s journey to the United States from Italy.
“A wide variety of countries, from Peru to China to England, were pinned,” Anderson said. “Some students came with stories to tell about why their families left their home countries or what traditions are still important to them today. One student, KnoxDavidson '29, brought his class pizzelle, a traditional Italian waffle cookie, that his grandmother baked. By learning about one another’s differences, we are building a more inclusive Lower School community that honors all students and families.”
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109 Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a K-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.