Think back. What are your earliest memories? Most likely they are of your parents, your siblings, and possibly other family members as well. What else can you remember? Do you remember your home and neighborhood, and your school experiences? Children understand best and retain an understanding of that which they can relate to. Even young children easily associate their own concrete experiences with family, neighborhood, school, clothing, and food, to the similar experiences of their friends. The challenge of our schools, then, is to teach children that there is a world of cultures beyond their home and the immediate neighborhood, to which they are accustomed.
This unit, which explores the culture of Lebanon, is thus premised on the notion that students understand different cultures best when they are compared with their own. It culminates in a “street festival,” based on a combination of a market place, the Muslim and Christian religious festivals, and the Baalbeck Festival. Our festival will have music, arts and crafts, foods, and displays of student’s projects about Lebanon.1