Lower School Lessons in Global Education

International education does not just include learning about distant peoples and lands. Blair Chewning’s 4th Grade class, and the rest of the 4th Grade, are currently working to create books on tape for Ridge Elementary School in Henrico County, which currently hosts one of the largest bilingual and refugee student populations in the area. Recording books on audio will help those students learn and speak English, their second language. 
The grade has also donated many math games, art games and board games to refugee students in the STAR program at the YMCA and to students at Ridge Elementary.

“We don’t do this to look good," said 4th Grade teacher Carolyn Villanueva. "We need to have empathy and have a knowledge of global issues.”

Villanueva and Heather Garnett’s 4th Grade classes also plan to visit these students this spring and Villanueva’s 4th Graders have taken it one step further — they have hosted numerous guest speakers who have been refugees or immigrants. These speakers include Global Scholar-in-Residence John Dau from Sudan, Howard University professor Dr. Kunle Kassim from Nigeria, VCU graduate and Collegiate parent Mera Sabha from Jordan, and VCU graduate and biomedical engineer Ezoza Namazova (‘13) from Uzbekistan.

Mrs. Villanueva began a class discussion by asking the students to remember what an immigrant is and what makes a refugee different from an immigrant.

A girl quickly raised her hand and responded, “An immigrant is someone traveling to a new country for a job, and a refugee is someone who travels for safety.”

To learn more, read senior Grant Villanueva's complete article for Collegiate’s newspaper, The Match.