In 1998 second grade teacher, Lynn Elliott, brought the staff of Oregon City’s Jennings Lodge Elementary School to tour the Global & Multicultural Resource Center’s Culture Box Program, then housed at Portland State University. As Karen Ettinger began the tour, the Jennings Lodge staff soon realized the potential of this hands-on resource. Knowing the value of multicultural education, Jennings Lodge teachers and their administrator then dedicated themselves to making Multicultural Studies a part of their schoolwide plan.
Taking a good look at how the school’s curriculum goals meshed with the use of the Culture Boxes, teachers set aside a month each year where multicultural studies were taught. Each classroom selected a different country to study. At the end of the month’s study, a culminating celebration took place. The community was invited to the first Multicultural Night celebration. Hundreds of family and community members accepted the invitation and have been coming ever since!
At the annual global celebrations, guests receive a “Passport” that is stamped as they enter each classroom. Guests sample food and explore artifacts from that country. Visitors are able to see students' written and artistic works. In the gymnasium, performers entertain families with music from other lands. Plenty of dancing follows!
This February, Jennings Lodge Elementary held their 20th Multicultural Night, celebrating student learning--once again, a big success! Over the past 20 years, no two Multicultural Nights have looked the same, but all years have been approached with enthusiasm from students and teachers alike.
Now housed at WorldOregon, the Global & Multicultural Resource Center’s Culture Boxes continue to provide students with opportunities to learn about the world around them. The staff at Jennings Lodge is very thankful for the Culture Boxes which have been an essential part of this 20-year journey!