National Mix-It-Up Day 2012 launches joint activities at HAT and Strelitz Preschool

by | Dec 21, 2012 | Other News

Celebrated by schools across the country, National Mix It Up Day promotes respect and tolerance among children. The program, first introduced to Hebrew Academy of Tidewater by school guidance counselor Michele Fenley, LCSW, encourages children to broaden their perspectives by interacting with schoolmates outside of their regular friendship circles.

HAT students kicked off this year’s activities by mixing it up in the cafeteria. Students sat at assigned mixed-grade round tables of six or seven students. Fifth graders led their lunch mates in discussions about what it means to be a good friend, asking each student at their tables to answer questions about friendship. The fifth graders also practiced important leadership skills, such as ensuring every student gets a turn, keeping the discussion moving, encouraging shy students to speak and praising students for their thoughtful responses.

Preschoolers at Strelitz Early Childhood Center also celebrated by mixing up classes within their own age groups. They had snacks together and engaged in activities such as playing with different toys and listening to different music. The children played with schoolmates whom they usually only see on the playground— it was like having a “playdate” with new friends.

The Mix It Up display in the school lobby includes a colorful array of cards with answers to the questions HAT students discussed at lunch, as well as thoughts from preschoolers on how to be a good friend. Across from this display is a companion board, entitled “Life is like a Tapestry, “a quote from Corrie Ten Boom, a righteous gentile whose family saved more than 800 Jews during the Holocaust. She described life’s ups and downs as being similar to a tapestry, which has rich colors, textures and patterns that come alive, but uses dark threads to create contrast and depth. This concept helped her understand the frightening events that were happening around her. It also reminds us of the primary goal of Mix It Up Day, which is about teaching tolerance—standing up to stop bullying and hatred.

Interactions between HAT and Strelitz will continue throughout the year.

Hebrew Academy of Tidewater is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Dorothy Hughes and Ellen Sacks, teachers