Cloverleaf Elementary School held its second annual educational Winter Around the World event, which showcased holiday culture and traditions around the globe on Thursday.


Hundreds of Cloverleaf Elementary students and families took a winter trip around the world in one night, all from the comfort of their school.

“Winter Around the World,” a showcase of winter holiday culture and traditions around the globe, was held at the school Thursday evening for students in pre-K through fifth grade and their families.

Principal Andy Mehall explained that the second annual is centered around the school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum.

“IB is teaching our students to be well-rounded. They learn about how they live, where other people live and how to connect to the world,” he said.

Creative spaces like red lanterns that appeared to be floating in the hallway and wildlife on the walls encouraged “inquiry based” learning. Students were encouraged to ask questions and consider the similarities and differences.

Each student carried a passport, which could be stamped in places like Italy, China and South Africa. Stations featured facts, artwork, music and multimedia designed by both teachers and students.

Teachers staffed the stations, spoke as tour guides and led the students in hands-on activities that exposed them to holiday traditions such as coloring a nativity scene or creating a snow globe.

In South Africa, many families celebrate Christmas at the beach, teacher Mandi Gragg said. Her students decorated the room with rain sticks, masks, animals and jewelry that can be found in Africa.

Gragg shared with students that there is also another beach in Africa full of penguins.

Cloverleaf is currently an IB candidate school and is working toward becoming Iredell-Statesville Schools’ second elementary school to receive the IB Primary Years Programme designation. Mehall said that their authorization visit will take place two-days in January 2020.

It’s an intensive process, he explained. The IB review team will observe every teacher at the school and talk with staff as well. The visitors will look at different aspects of the learner profile piece and see how it is connecting with unit planners.

“That’s one reason why IB is such a great program. It’s not just checking something off and getting a rubber stamp of approval, but it’s gold status,” Mehall said.