One World Project (OWP) was born in 2012 with the aim of promoting cultural understanding and environmental sustainability through meaningful multilingual community, after school, camp, and early childhood education programs. To support these efforts, OWP developed an Institute to nurture shared learning.
OWP’s Spanish-immersion program started with eight children in our Director Joanne’s home and has since grown to serve more than 150 children annually.
Do you Want to Build a Snowman?
Joanne’s experience as a mom was also formative to the creation of OWP. She has two children and both of them love to create and build. She was volunteering in her son Nico’s classroom one day when the children were making snowmen. Nico used all sorts of shapes and colors to make his snowman and was so proud of his creation. The moment was crushed when the teacher quietly waved her finger and explained that a snowman is white, made of circles, and the biggest circle is at the bottom.
Here Comes the Sun!
During this time, Nico was also taking Saturday Spanish classes. Not long after the snowman incident, his Spanish teacher asked the children to gather around a massive piece of paper which they covered with strips of newspaper and painted yellow, orange, and red. The children were messy and immensely happy. They had worked together to make a gigantic sun. After their masterpiece dried, the teacher, with great care, cut it up and everyone got to bring a ray of sun home. It was a beautiful way for the children to work together and create something collectively. Joanne was immediately struck by the difference in teaching styles.
Nico’s Spanish teacher was Mónica Paillet Zurdo. After class Joanne asked Mónica to meet up for a coffee and they swapped stories, shared books, and hatched the plan to start OWP. Together they committed to building a child-centered school dedicated to play and a community center informed by the rights and responsibilities associated with living in an interconnected, global world of immense diversity. It is also a reaction to the most pressing issues of today’s world - hate, fear, and arrogance and a belief that the best way to tackle these issues is by planting seeds of empathy, collaborative problem solving, and community action.