Kelowna students are learning about different cultures through their palates.
Melanie Culham, a Grade 6 teacher at Springvalley Middle School, came up with the idea for the Taste of the World food fair, held at the middle school Wednesday afternoon as part of Harmony Day.
Through a separate Living Library event held on Jan. 30 celebrating Harmony Day, students had to come up with an idea to celebrate diversity at their own middle school, she said.
They ended up choosing food as a theme.
“Everyone loves food, what do you do when you go to someone’s house? You get food. So we thought what can we do at our school that brings food and everyone together?” Culham said.
Alexa MacIsaac, a Grade 7 student, helped organize the event and coloured the flags displayed on each table. Last year, a classroom-style food fair was held, but this year the whole school celebrated featuring 23 countries.
While she hadn’t had a chance to sample the delicacies this year, MacIsaac said she enjoyed the Australian food during the classroom event.
“Some classes had students who wanted to bring specific things from their ethnic backgrounds, whereas others thought of food they enjoyed in the past and wanted to bring those in,” Culham said.
“When we’re doing something like this, it opens so many doors, and gives students an understanding of what other people have in their lives, what their backgrounds are, and gives them an opportunity to try something new.”
Since 2006, the Central Okanagan School District has been promoting Harmony Day and celebrating it throughout the schools.
The idea to celebrate Harmony Day in the Okanagan was sparked when a teacher took students to visit an Australian school. It just so happened to be Harmony Day on this visit, originally celebrated in Australia, and what she and her children witnessed serves as the framework for Harmony Day in Kelowna.
Harmony Day in Australia is celebrated nationally on March 21 and is about bringing people together to promote Australian values and to celebrate community participation.