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Celebrating Our Heritage

To educate for lasting peace, we must begin at birth. Children come into this world with pure love or light in their hearts. When this love is recognized and consistently reflected back to them, they are able to develop their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world.” Sonnie McFarland

Hatfield Montessori celebrated Heritage Day in a week’s worth of shared moments. It started off with our annual traditional wear day, paired with a photo-shoot done by one of our parents. The week continued with our best teachers coming to school – our parents. Parents offered their time to share a presentation about their heritage. We learnt about 7 different countries and cultures. The children were filled to the brim with a variety of experiences, including new food, dances and language. It was a time of community enrichment and appreciation. Sonnie Mcfarland writes that: 

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate those differences.” 

Below we collected some insights from the parents who did presentations during this week. Please enjoy their thoughtful responses on the importance of sharing their heritage with the younger generation. 

heritage day


Kiki says

I’ve always been very patriotic about Zambia. Whenever Lester, Maryann’s father, introduces me this is the first thing he mentions, how patriotic his wife is about her home country Zambia. Incidentally, when I look at my own lineage or heritage my biological father is Ghanian, Nigerian, English, Scottish, and my mother was French South African but I was born in Zambia and grew up there. So, Zambia is my home. And I made sure that before my grandmother passed away she taught me one song in my native language. I did this so that Maryann can pass it down to her children. I feel like when you know where you come from and you know what you stand for then you won’t fall for anything. As an extension, if you know your country and your heritage it gives you a sense of pride. 

Annette says:

Sharing our culture with the children is important as it opens their eyes to diversity around them. I hope it stirs up a curiosity to explore and to broaden their minds. I was thrilled to see them try out new foods, specially the little fish we call Kapenta. Being aware of other people’s traditions and culture makes us aware that we don’t all have to do things the same way and that we should respect others around us, their cultures and traditions even if some things look strange. It may seem strange to wrap a chitenge (African print fabrics) around my waist as I dance but this way you can see the movements my body makes. Dance is an important part of Zambian culture used to pass down traditions and teach life lessons. 


Ndauda says: 

Diversity can be scary. When children learn that their friends whom they love actually come from a totally different background than them, they learn to be tolerant, to be accepting of themselves and others and to be curious of the world out there. 


Marion says: 

It was a privilege to share some of our Polish heritage and history with the HMP kids. The Polish Romani people are a minority ethnic group in Poland and sharing a dance with typical Romani dress and some music was a special occasion for me and the kids. It is important (and magical) to share traditions with kids. It brings a sense of ethnicity to the environment we so often disconnect from in our busy lives. 

South Sudan 

Adhieu says:

Seeing everyone dressed in their different cultural outfits gave me a deep sense of pride in my culture. It gave me a sense of fulfilment. There is so much beauty in our diversity that we should always strive for. It was a privilege to expose the children to my culture and help them embrace the importance of beads to us as a people. By sharing my culture, I believe the children will respect and value the diversity within us all. 


Adiam says:

The moment I came to the school in my Eritrean traditional clothes I realised I looked different but was admired by the children who started complimenting me from top to bottom. One saying: “I like your earring” and another “I like your dress, you look beautiful”. I was showered with kind words and appreciation. Everything they said made me feel special. Children do notice every little thing and when given the opportunity, they are able to express their opinions with honesty.

It was also lovely to see how many of them were ready to taste unfamiliar food. For many the ‘Injera’ – sour Eritrean bread – was the focal point. It was interesting to see that some liked the white injera which is less sour and the majority enjoyed the brown injera which is the original and gluten free one. At least everyone had something to taste from salad to ‘Shiro’- chickpea sauce with a bit of chilli. They seem to enjoy eating from one big plate which also is something new to them.

This is what encourages me to share my culture and background with the children. Their openness and readiness to receive and appreciate others. I believe exploring our cultural diversity allows us to broaden our understanding of the world. It brings us closer to each other, minimizing unnecessary perceptions and leading to peaceful and coherent living.

Sepedi, South Africa

Malebo says:

It was a great experience for me sharing and teaching the children about my culture and origin. I got an opportunity to teach them my language, the food we eat and how we dance. The dance I shared included wearing custom-made Sepedi attire called Misu/shakers. We wear these shakers on our legs which brings the rhythm when dancing. Through my observations the children were amazed by my Sepedi traditional dance and were eager to learn more about my culture. They also tried on the attire and dance. I think by knowing that we have different cultures in our country, it will teach them respect for others. It will also give the children a sense of who they are, along with their own origins. By sharing my culture it will help the children to build  their own social relationships in their communities. These will be of trust and decrease in fear of others. I believe by sharing my culture there will be less intolerance and isolation and more sense of belonging and pro-social behaviours. It is amazing when children know their roots and understand the differences and similarities of our cultures.


Anca says: 

As humans, we all share the human need to belong. Sharing my Romanian heritage with the children fulfilled this need to connect, be understood and accepted. Seeing the children’s excitement and interest about my birthplace, my culture, my customs, showed me how inclusive and tolerant our children deeply are. They loved to remember interesting facts about a place they never visited, such as the fish shape of the country. They were in awe at the sight of snow and that started an animated conversation. Something as simple as sharing the origin of my traditional wear and food, strengthened the bond between us. That connection will forever remain with all of us despite our differences. I am grateful.

The staff at Hatfield Montessori were so inspired by all the parents joining us we didn’t want the week to end! Parents are the greatest teachers to their children and we feel so grateful for their engagement. We will continue to invite parents to share their heritage with us as the year proceeds.

“The child is both the hope and a promise for mankind.” Maria Montessori 

Reach out to us today.


  • Kashmiri

    Thank you Anki for your wonderful post and for all the parents and Montessori guides that have taken the time to share their rich heritage with our children. Diversity is what sets us apart but brings us together at the same time – I feel privileged to have my children attend HMP!

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