Tyler Run Elementary School students explored various cultures last week before heading off for winter break.

Tyler Run Elementary School students explored various cultures last week before heading off for winter break.

Four years ago, the school began an all-day multicultural celebration event at which students learn about other countries and make crafts related to those cultures.

"The objective of the multicultural celebration is to help students understand the world they live in and the people who make up the school and greater community," fourth-grade teacher Melanie Conaway said in an e-mail. "Students learn about the values and beliefs, traditions and customs, family, food, religion, dress and recreation of people in other cultures."

This year, students learned about Peru, South Africa, Turkey and Japan. The corresponding crafts the students made were a woven bookmark, beaded bracelets, an evil-eye amulet keychain and fans, respectively.

"This special event replaces the holiday party in order to include all Tyler Run students and their families as well as Tyler Run staff members," Conaway said.

"The multicultural celebration is held during this time of year for several reasons. First, many cultures have a celebration during the months of October to February; so many students' celebrations can be incorporated in order for them to be a part of the school community. Secondly, many staff members choose December as a time to study the people-in-societies portion of the social studies curriculum."

Learning about other cultures is part of the state-required curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade, she said. "For example, fourth-graders are currently studying immigrants to Ohio, so this event, for them, is a culmination of learning."

The event also included a community action center at which students made no-sew fleece blankets to be distributed at Children's Hospital.

"By understanding various cultures, students begin to understand that what outwardly may make us different really makes us have common values. The underlying wish for all cultures and traditions is love, honoring family and traditions, giving to others," Conaway said.