D.C. Public Schools worked together with the Embassy Adoption Program to infuse global education in the classrooms of D.C. 5th and 6th graders again in the past school year. Embassy of Finland in Washington has taken part in the program since it's commencement in 1974 and did so again this year. The students of River Terrace Elementary school’s fifth grade got to visit the Embassy, take part in Nordic Food Festival, go on fields trips and learn many things about exotic Finland as part of the program.
In early June, the event hall of the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. was filled with excited 5th graders when the students of River Terrace Elementary School were getting ready for their final presentation of the Embassy Adoption Program year. The staff of the Finnish Embassy was in for a treat when the students made dance performances and gave speeches as a thank you for the Embassy for the past year.
River Terrace Elementary School was one of the D.C. Public Schools taking part in the Embassy Adoption Program. Since 1974, the Program, in partnership with the Washington Performing Arts Society, has worked with 5th and 6th grade students, to bring global education to D.C. Public School students, through D.C.’s international community.
In the Embassy Adoption program, a class is “adopted” by an embassy, creating a bond with both local and international community. Students spend a year immersed in programs that aim to enhance cultural competency; increase cross-cultural communication skills; and aid in student understanding of local and global communities.
One of the highlights of the last year’s Embassy Adoption Program was the Nordic Food Day. The Embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, together with the D.C. public schools’ Office of Food & Nutrition Services, brought Nordic food to all 45,000 students at 125 D.C. schools on Nordic Food Day, the first ever celebration of international food and culture at D.C. public schools.
Four elementary schools which were paired with the Nordic countries through the D.C. Embassy Adoption Program had special events take place during lunchtime on Nordic Food Day. The Finnish Embassy hosted Nordic Food Day at River Terrace Elementary School on October 26 where the embassy's chef, Mr. Mikko Kosonen served healthy and delicious Finnish treats to the students, and singer Meri Siirala performed Finnish music. The event also featured puppet artist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Juha Laukkanen and Finland's beloved Moomin characters.
Other program highlights included classroom sessions, hosted by embassy representatives; field trips to gain hands-on experience with Finnish culture; a final presentation demonstrating acquired knowledge for the ambassador and embassy representatives; and a Mini United Nations event held between all DCPS Embassy Adoption classrooms.
The Embassy of FInland will be part of the program again next year when it will adopt another school and another fifth grade to experience Finnish culture.
The Embassy Adoption Program is a compelling opportunity that could only exist in the District of Columbia, and at DC Public Schools. It is an opportunity to expand students’ global understanding, increase interactive programming options, and continue on that road to becoming the highest performing urban district in the nation.