Third grade students in Greenvale waited with anticipation for a red trunk in their classrooms to be opened.
“I thought it would be clothing,” said student Nico Renza. What the children soon discovered in addition to brightly colored ponchos, the trunk was filled with artifacts from Oaxaca, Mexico that included musical instruments, games, cacao beans, money and a painted skull used to celebrate The Day of The Dead.
Classmate Anna Malinin said, “It was really interesting to see how different people live. I didn’t know they dye clothes with fruit.”
The word “Red” in Red Trunk stands for Respect Every Difference and students in both Greenvale and Anne Hutchinson School piloted the program. PNW BOCES partnered with the Red Trunk Project and helped design the lessons.
The message is resounding with Anne Hutch third-grader Kayleigh Geagan. “Everybody is different and it is good to learn about the difference.”
“The Red Trunk Project connects students to cultures around the world in the most authentic way possible -- through the eyes and experiences of other children,” said Supervisor of Humanities, Susan Chester. Students also found out what everyone has in common is that they are different. “Learning that children from a far-away place are, in many ways, "just like me" encourages tolerance, builds empathy, and increases knowledge of the world outside of Eastchester,” said Chester.
Students also said they enjoyed learning about the past.
Eastchester would like to bring the Red Trunk Project to other classrooms next year.