Students at Ann Arbor’s Daycroft Montessori School Are Sushi Chefs for a Day
Fifth- and sixth-graders at Daycroft Montessori School (www.daycroft.org) of Ann Arbor were thrilled to try their hand at the challenges of authentic sushi preparation one recent school day.
And they did this without leaving their Daycroft classroom.
The students cut avocados and crab meat. They peeled, seeded, and diced cucumbers. They layered these ingredients using bamboo mats – sometimes with the rice outside, sometimes inside. The result: their own California rolls.
Best of all, the children were able to sample their sushi creations. Delicious! Students with a taste for the hot and spicy tried their rolls with a touch of wasabi.
Along the way, the children explored the history of sushi, from its ancient origins in Southeast Asia to its contemporary popularity throughout the world.
The sushi-making learning and fun happened on the afternoon of Thursday, November 29, in the Grades 5-6 classroom at Daycroft’s Elementary Campus on Zeeb Road, just north of Jackson Road.
It was actually the school’s second-annual sushi-making session. Amy Morrell – who, along with Niki Buchanan, co-teaches the Grades 5-6 classroom at Daycroft – told how the event first came about, and how it has already grown:
“Sydney Taylor, who was in fifth grade last year, had mentioned to the class how they make sushi, as a family activity, in her home. She said that maybe her mom could come in and show us all how it’s done. It turned out to be such a big hit that the class asked if we could do it again this year.”
Sydney’s mother, Christine Gregory, is the assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Michigan’s Law School. She noted, “Cooking and eating together is a big part of our family culture. It’s one of the ways we express our love for each other. Sydney had the idea of sharing this with the class. Plus, sushi is one of her absolute favorite things to eat.”
This year, Gregory was joined in the sushi-making lesson by Sydney’s grandmother, Chong Suk Gregory, who is Korean. The two taught the students some Korean words and phrases, along with how to prepare sushi.
The event exemplified, in several ways, Daycroft’s child-centered approach to education. “We give our students hands-on experiences whenever we can,” said Buchanan. “We also welcome parents to come in and share their special skills and knowledge. This way they become even more directly involved in their children’s learning.”
Morrell added, “Cultural studies are a major part of a Daycroft education. We explore the world’s traditions and help our students become global citizens.”
About Daycroft Montessori School
Daycroft Montessori School blends the distinctive student-centered teaching methods of Maria Montessori with traditional and progressive education. This helps Daycroft accomplish its mission: to provide a personalized learning environment that appreciates individual differences, nurtures the whole child, and enables students to develop at their own pace and achieve to their potential.
Daycroft is one of Washtenaw County’s leading private schools. It began as a preschool program in 1968. Daycroft has since grown to include a full-day kindergarten program, an elementary school program through 6th grade, before-school and after-school care, summer camp programs, and enrichment classes.
Daycroft has earned accreditation from the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS; www.isacs.org). It is a member of the Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS; www.aims-mi.org), the American Montessori Society (AMS; www.amshq.org), and the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA; www.montessori-namta.org).
Daycroft Preprimary School (preschool and kindergarten) is at 100 Oakbrook Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Phone: (734) 930-0333.
Daycroft Elementary School (grades K through 6) and Daycroft’s administrative offices are at 1095 N. Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Phone: (734) 662-3335.