St. Nicholas drops gifts in students’ shoes
Santa Clause has already been to Wimbish World Language Academy. Actually, it was St. Nicholas, a German version of Santa.
Wimbish is using the holiday season to teach and expose students to different cultures. With so many different holiday traditions celebrated worldwide, there are endless opportunities to learn.
“I’m excited for our students to learn about the way other cultures celebrate because that’s our purpose at this school,” said Elizabeth Velasco, the school’s community outreach liaison.
Last week, the school embraced the German tradition of Saint Nicholas Day for the very first time. In the German tradition, kids leave their shoes out in the foyer on the night of Saint Nicholas Eve (Dec. 5) in hopes that Saint Nicholas will leave behind treats, coins or other little gifts in their shoes.
“Students are reading about these traditions, learning about the culture and getting to celebrate it in an authentic way,” said Kailey Corpman, a dual language specialist at Wimbish.
To celebrate the German tradition authentically, Wimbish students left a shoe – or a drawing of their shoe – out in the hallway on Saint Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) with no idea what to expect.
When they went to get their shoes later on, their faces lit up as they realized that Saint Nicholas had indeed paid a visit.
A piece of candy, a new pencil and a Wolf Buck to use at the school store were waiting for them in each shoe.
Celebrating the German tradition is personal for Wimbish teaching assistant Johanna Voigt, who is German and grew up celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.
“My son and I have always given his teachers their gifts on Saint Nicholas Day to promote it in school,” Voigt said. “I was so excited when I heard that we were doing this this year. I love that Wimbish has incorporated this for all the kids.”
Celebrating different traditions has been a great way to connect students with the cultural roots of some of their peers and educators – like Voigt – and of people they’ve never met across the world. But it’s not just educational. It’s fun, too.
“It’s fun because we learn about other cultures,” said second grader Adah Ramos. “Every day is something different.”
Velasco says that’s exactly the goal.
“We not only teach the language, we teach the culture.”
Learn more about Wimbish World Language Academy.