Although the tours have ended, the excitement for Caravanserai and learning about Pakistani culture continues in one New Jersey school. Today's blog post comes from teacher Edward Morrows and his first grade class.
I am a first grade teacher at the Mahala F. Atchison School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey and on March 26th our school was fortunate to have Caravanserai perform for us. In my twenty-seven years of teaching, this was by far one of the best assemblies I had ever seen.As we entered the gymnasium, all eyes were on the performers who were seated on stage. My first graders began to whisper about these people dressed in strange clothing. As soon as everyone was seated, Ms. Fenley, the group’s spokesperson, explained to the audience that a caravanserai is a place where travelers from different places come together during their journey to rest and share their stories. Caravanserai was about to bring to our school a musical taste of Pakistan.It was the most amazing hour. During the entire assembly, my students and I were captivated by these performers from the Pakistan. The music was so different from anything the children or I had heard, but it was thrilling and exciting.It was an amazing experience, but it wasn’t until I got back in the classroom that I realized the full impact of Caravanserai upon my first graders. My students could not stop talking about it. They asked me if they could write about what they had just seen and that surprised me. They wrote that they loved what they had heard and wanted more.
The children’s enthusiasm was infectious. We transformed our room by creating a structure to be their own caravanserai – a place where they go to share their stories with each other in writing and artwork. We have desert murals on our walls created by them. Together as we are learning about Pakistan and its culture, they continually ask questions, wanting to learn as much as possible.The Caravanserai program opened the minds of my students to learn about another culture and embrace diversity. This is a program that exemplifies what education should be. This is a program that all children, no matter what age, should be exposed to.
"I liked the music at the assembly because the musicians are very talented, especially Arif Lohar. I liked Arif Lohar's instrument. The instrument is the chimta. I loved Arif Lohar the best."
"I loved the singers because they are the best! I loved the instruments! I loved the music because it makes people dance. I loved it! I loved Arif Lohar because when he sang you wanted to stand up and dance."
"I liked the instruments. I loved the singers; they are talented musicians. I liked the rhythm of the music. I liked the part when we clapped our hands and stomped our feet. I had so much fun. I liked this assembly."
"I wanted to dance to the music. I liked the music because of the rhythm and beat. I liked their song Alif Allah Chambey di Booti."
"Today I saw Pakistani people and they played Pakistani music. It was at our school assembly. I really liked the music. I would like to see them again on Saturday."