Festival brings culture of world to area children
BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Sunday, November 11, 2012
11/11/12 at 8:31 AM
The Mayan temple and Big Ben. Swiss cheese and Dutch shoes. Turkish dances and French songs.
All those things and more will be part of Kids' World, a biennial international festival presented by Tulsa Global Alliance. The festival will be Thursday-Saturday at the Exchange Center at Expo Square.
"The program that they have there makes the world come to my children," said Karen Fowlkes, a third-grade reading and social studies teacher at Grissom Elementary School. She has been taking her students to Kids' World since the event started in 1993.
"It's better than a textbook," Fowlkes said.
This year, organizers expect more than 15,000 people to attend the three-day festival, which will feature food, performances and activities from representatives of more than 55 cultures and organizations.
Cristina Smith Williams, who is working on the event's curriculum this year, has helped organize Kids' World since the first festival was held. Williams said she always stresses to the participants that Kids' World is not a "trade show."
"People don't just go by and you stick a flier in their bag," she said. Each booth has a hands-on activity geared toward teaching children something, whether it's the nine steps of making cheese in Switzerland or how to write their names in Chinese.
Fowlkes said these activities are the reason her students retain so much from the trip.
"My age group - they do better with hands-on activities," she said.
Along with complementing what they learn in the classroom, Fowlkes said the festival opens doors for her students.
"They are limited at 8 years of age about how much they know about other cultures," she said. Being able to interact with people from different backgrounds broadens their view of the world.
Williams said the event is "fertile ground for learning."
"The goal is to reach children before they have preconceived notions about the world," she said. The event helps students learn that while there are differences in people's cultures, there are also similarities.
Fowlkes said programs such as Kids' World are important because they help children grow up knowing that they live in a diverse society.
"They need to have empathy for other cultures," she said. The program helps eliminate prejudice, spread peace, teach tolerance and keep history from repeating itself, she said.
Williams and Fowlkes said adults who accompany their children can also learn from the event.
"Sometimes adults get as much out of Kids' World as children do," Williams said.
The event also acts like a mirror, Williams said.
"It makes people think about themselves and ask the question, 'If I was making a booth about the U.S. in Ghana, what would I include?' " Williams said.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $4 for everyone 18 and younger and $5 for adults.
Special rates are available for school field trips, home-school groups and scouting groups. For more information, visit tulsaworld.com/kidsworld2012 or call 918-591-4750.
Kids' World entertainment schedule
10 a.m.: Zarrow International School, second- and third-graders perform cultural dances
11:30 a.m.: Wade Blevins, Cherokee performer
12:30 p.m.: G.M. Sutton Avian Center
1 p.m.: Gypsy Fire Belly Dancers, Middle Eastern dance troupe
1:30 p.m.: James Ruggles, violin performance of multicultural songs and classical favorites
3 p.m.: Artisscape, Tulsa-based performing arts studio performs a "mini-concert"
4 p.m.: Russian Sign Language, a young woman from Kazakhstan performs songs in Russian Sign Language
5 p.m.: Victoria Turner, Discovery School of Tulsa student, performs a selection of songs
10:30 a.m.: Eisenhower International School, 14 classes will perform
Noon: Manyawi, 50 students from Monroe's World Music Ensemble of Norman will perform in the styles of Brazil, Korea, Norway and Indonesia
1 p.m.: Reflejos Flamencos & James Ruggles, Flamenco music and dance from southern Spain
2 p.m.: Marcel Van Dam, French vocalist
3 p.m.: Artisscape
3:30 p.m.: Marcel Van Dam
4:30 p.m.: Raindrop Turkish House, Turkish folk dance show
5 p.m.: India Association of Greater Tulsa, traditional dances of India
6 p.m.: Tai chi demonstration by Sifu Thomas
6:30 p.m.: Turkish folk dances
7 p.m.: Cambodian dances by Bobbie Bigby
10: Zodiac Trio, Young musicians trained in New York and Paris
10:45 a.m.: Tulsa Kung Fu, Lion dance
11 a.m.: Tulsa Kung Fu
11:30 a.m.: Lilik Haloka, dances of Indonesia
12:30 p.m.: Chef Remmi, the Tulsa fifth-grader will present a cooking demonstration
1 p.m.: Gotta Dance Clogging, contemporary step routine under the direction of Curtis and Sherrie Hale
2 p.m.: Wushu Kung Fu Center
2:30 p.m: Tulsa Kung Fu
3 p.m.: Chinese yo-yo by Philip Hwang
3:30 p.m.: Gypsy Fire Belly Dancers, troupe performs a mix of American tribal, Gypsy, Egyptian and Middle Eastern dances
4 p.m.: German American Society of Tulsa, traditional dance
5 p.m.: Flamenco Tulsa, Spanish flamenco music and dance
5:30 p.m.: Alejandra Guzman, Cooper Elementary fourth-grade students present a selection of songs in Spanish and English
6 p.m.: Oklahoma Performing Arts Inc., youth ballet students performing selections from "The Nutcracker"
Original Print Headline: Festival brings world to area children
Nour Habib 918-581-8369
Teacher Karen Fowlkes watches Wednesday as Xander Griffin works on a map assignment at Grissom Elementary School and Liam Woodham (left) looks on. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World