Indian Hill Schools have a unique aspect to their learning opportunities due to the Global Parent Network, a group of international parents who come together to share and support their various nationalities. Their biggest project of the year is the International Fair, hosted by parents, which rotates between the Primary, Elementary and Middle Schools each year.
This year’s Fair, under the auspices of the PTO, featured fifteen countries, all presented by parents from those countries. Booths showcasing traditional toys, animals, foods, customs, clothing, and more captivate students as they played games and musical instruments, tried on traditional garb, “cook,” and pet stuffed animals.
Mohamed Motawi, parent of a fourth and eighth grader who came to Cincinnati from Egypt nine years ago, has been involved with the Fair for four years. “The way I look at it,” he explains, “there is a group of kids in a class, and they may not have an understanding of other kids’ backgrounds. One of the things the Fair does is show students that there are people from other countries and this is what that country is like. They may have a friend from Mexico – and this is what Mexico is like.”
He feels this is especially valuable for those countries that students are less likely to visit, such as Paraguay or Honduras. “Even if they never have the chance to go, they can learn a bit about that country from someone who has lived there,” he says.
Just as important is that this helps give students perspective on the country they are now living in: America. “This is America – what makes America,” stresses Mr. Motawi.
Singaporean Faizah Byer, parent of a first and sixth grader, has been key in helping the Global Parent Network flourish. “It’s so important for students to know there are other countries out there,” she feels. “It’s wonderful to come to this small yet diverse community, and I feel it’s important to support those global efforts.”
Dela Ghasemzadeh, parent of a third and eighth grader from Iran, agrees: “We are all people, just like them – same-same but different. The Fair shows our students our community is diverse, and it helps them learn to appreciate other cultures.”
First-timer Amisha Shah, who has a first grade daughter, found the Fair sparked her daughter’s interest in India: “There is so much excitement – it helps to bring attention to one’s roots,” she says. “We are all the same, just a tad bit different, and that’s what makes us so special.”