A College Preparatory Private School with Two Campuses in Suffolk, VA. Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 12.

Exploring Multiple Languages and Cultures in Lower School

Global Connections Teacher Katie Glass introduces first grade students to the program

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy has launched a new program this year for our youngest Saints.

Lower School students at both Main Campus and Harbour View will take part in the Global Connections program.

"Global Connections is designed to give students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the unfamiliar," said Head of Lower School Alex Bartlett '01. "We want our students to learn how to create an inclusive, global community through knowledge, respect, kindness and acceptance."

Katie Glass, who joined the NSA family this year, will be leading the program.

Ms. Katie Glass pictured during her time teaching abroad

Ms. Glass brings a unique perspective to NSA after living and teaching abroad. "I moved to Indonesia in 2014 right after college, and my worldview was changed forever," Ms. Glass said. "Not only was I living in another country, but I was also teaching at an international school with dozens of cultures represented."

During Ms. Glass' time abroad, she was trained by the International Baccalaureate program, which emphasizes a global perspective in all learning. She also traveled around Asia and Australia. "I was challenged to question my assumptions, look at something from a new perspective and keep an open mind when learning from others," Ms. Glass says. "Often, this kind of learning can be messy and uncomfortable, but learning to listen, having empathy and having a teachable spirit are so important in the process." Ms. Glass hopes she will be able to challenge the students at NSA in similar ways.

"My vision for this program is centered on four concepts that are embedded in every unit: form, belief, perspective and connection," said Ms. Glass. "Students will inquire and discover the attributes, beliefs and values of different traditions and cultures. They will also learn about different perspectives that exist. Ultimately, I hope they will come to understand that we are all connected."

Ms. Glass teaches a Global Connections pre-K class

Ms. Glass has spent a lot of time training and developing units that are conceptually based. That means classes will dig below the surface to discover deeper truths about topics. "Rather than simply memorizing facts or even just learning about foods, flags and clothing of other cultures, I want the students to dig deeply and understand what a culture values," says Ms. Glass. "When you go below the surface, it is easy to see how our cultures are connected."

Ms. Glass meets with a Global Connections class at our Harbour View campus

The Global Connections program is intended to take a thematic approach. That means most units will focus on a topic and classes will then explore how different cultures relate to that topic. "For example, one unit will focus on birthday celebrations around the world," said Ms. Glass. "While it will be fun to learn all the ways different cultures celebrate, we will focus on why we recognize birthdays and what we might believe or value about people."

Third grade Global Connections students work on critical thinking activity

Students will also learn about different types of government systems around the world. "We will discover what these systems look like, how they are similar and different and how they affect the lives of the citizens," said Ms. Glass.

Ultimately, Ms. Glass hopes her students will walk away as better global citizens. "We all have rights and responsibilities, and no matter how big or small, we can all make a difference," said Ms. Glass.

Ms. Glass meets with a third grade Global Connections class


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