A New Generation

We're really blessed at Baan Dek. We have an amazingly diverse and eclectic community, comprised of so many beautiful and considerate students and families. With over seven different foreign languages represented in our school, (which is relatively small, especially considering that we're located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota) we're increasingly overwhelmed by the humanity and compassion that we see exhibited on a daily basis.

Sometimes it's difficult to read the newspaper, or turn on the television, and understand exactly what's going on in the rest of the world, when you can glimpse into one of these classrooms and see the germination of a new generation of global citizens. One of our lovely parents, Sarah Sibert, took the opportunity, not only to educate her child on the value of others (or was it the other way around), but also took the time, to share her story with us.

We have so much to learn from children..


"When my daughter Piper brought me the scarf – an outdated black and red silk square that avoided the donation box and found new life in the dress up box – she asked me to help her tie it. “Like a belt?” I asked. “No, around my head like Manar,” she replied, referring to the hijab-wearing mother of her schoolmate and friend, Hamza.

Her tone was put off, as to say “how else would you tie a scarf?”

“Oh yeah, like that!” I said in my best that-was-my-next-guess voice, feeling very lame I hadn’t thought of it myself. I jumped right to work wrapping and tying, making sure that it was secure for whatever came next in Piper’s re-enactment of reality called “pretend play”.

My concentration floated between thoughts like how does Manar tie hers so pristinely? I should ask her to teach me… and more awakening thoughts like how cool is this that Piper’s circle of friends includes children and adults who can literally bring her the world – in their clothes, their languages, their travels and their customs.

Considering that during my own childhood, the only woman I ever saw wear a headscarf was my grandma on rainy days to protect her hair, I felt really optimistic and hopeful that Piper – and all the world’s preschoolers – will grow up genuinely intrigued by the things that make us different and even “try on” a few of them.

Once it was tied, I was expecting questions about why she wears a scarf and why I don’t, and oddly enough, nothing. She fluttered about in her butterfly dress and scarf reading books and singing songs to pretend friends.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. To Piper, Manar is no different than any other mom – she kisses her son when he is hurt, reminds him constantly to stay away from the street and brings a purse chock full of fruit snacks to play dates. She just does it wearing a really cool scarf."