Brazilian steel drums welcomed students to Encinal School in Atherton on Thursday, Jan. 28, as the elementary school celebrated the arts and culture of Brazil for its annual Cultural Arts Day.
The day featured a samba dance performance by dancers from Samba Conmiga and a capoeira performance by members of Brazivedas. Fourth- and fifth-graders heard a lecture on the Amazon rain forest and its indigenous people by Jose Manuel Vieira Fragoso, a visiting scholar and senior scientist in the biology department at Stanford University, who spent many years exploring the rain forest.
An on-site exhibit featured Brazilian artifacts and students took virtual tours of Brazilian cities and sites on electronic devices.
During recess, students played Brazilian futsal (a form of soccer), led by parent-volunteers, and learned Brazilian jiu-jitsu moves from Peninsula Self-Defense Academy instructors.
Students made butterflies inspired by the Brazilian rain forest to decorate the school. In the classrooms, students learned about the history and culture of Brazil and heard Brazilian children's stories and folklore. Members of Brownie Troop 62418, all second-graders at Encinal, provided the materials for Brazilian crafts.
"Cultural Arts Day is a highlight at Encinal School," Encinal Principal Sharon Burns said. By studying the culture of a particular country or region each year, the students become "aware, curious and interested in learning about the world and how it works," she said.
The event was organized by committee members Ami Bhow, Susie Danzig, Indu Sharma and Patricia Zahedani. The annual event is funded by the Encinal PTO and run by parent-volunteers.