Last month more than 300 family members attended a Multicultural Family Night in May presented by the West Haven Community House Children and Youth Services Program. Guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment, dining and art representing a variety of cultures from around the globe. The Children and Youth Services program offers before and after school in seven West Haven schools.
Each program represented a country with researched information, art displays, performances and delicious food. Countries showcased were Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Australia, Ireland, Africa, Jamaica and Mexico. Giant colorful display boards featuring students’ work using a variety of media, techniques and dimensions was the vibrant backdrop for performances.
“We had students perform dances from Mexico, songs from Italy and poems from Ireland. A parent demonstrated an Australian Bull horn and didgeridoo followed by students who were ‘costumed’ as indigenous species of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. Children from the Philippine American Association performed a traditional folk dance. Africa was represented by the kindergartners who performed and danced to the book ‘Cha-Cha Chimps,’ by Julia Durango. The book is a great example of how literature can be used to teach math while dancing to a variety of rhythms. An interactive African drumming demonstration was the introduction to our Kindergarten performance. The 5th and 6th grade students showed a film that they produced and directed based on the book ‘I am the World’, by Charles R. Smith, Jr. Bloopers was featured at the end of the movie and elicited much laughter from the audience. Another site made a video of each student sharing their family customs,” said Carol James, Children and Youth Services director.
James said the event mirrored the cultures the agency is servicing in the program and had a unifying aspect to it.
“We live in a richly diverse community and the event brought our students and families together to share our many similarities and to also celebrate our differences. Thank you to our students, families, staff and friends who worked so hard to ensure the success of our Multicultural Celebration.” James concluded.
The CYS Program provides high-quality, affordable before and after school programs for West Haven families giving parents peace of mind knowing that their child has a safe, constructive place to be before and after school. It provides academic enrichment learning activities focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and literacy adapted to meet various developmental levels and interests.
Activities include homework help, computer use, arts & crafts; science; cultural explorations; choice with age-appropriate games and equipment; gym and outdoor play; language, drama, music, service learning, and leadership development.
All West Haven public elementary and intermediate students are eligible to attend the program, which includes bus transportation provided between sites. Visit whcommunityhouse.org or call (203) 934-5221 x123.