The lower school Passport Club is a parent-led club where lower school students are tested on their knowledge of geography. Students are challenged each month by having to learn about different countries around the world. The students are then tested according to their level and rewarded with a certain amount of world bucks depending on their accuracy. These world bucks are used at the World Market that takes place at the end of the year to buy toys and gadgets from the countries they studied throughout the year. This is a way that students can learn and be stimulated at the same time. Lower school parents, students and faculty are very involved and passionate about Passport Club, as this is the sixth year of the program at Wesleyan.
College Advising Assistant Dayna Thomson was one of the founders of the lower school Passport Club. The club started because Stephanie Powell, one of the three founders, became aware of a club in Hong Kong that was teaching kids about geography with the idea of using a passport to help them learn. She gathered up a few parents to help her come up with a way that this could be a part of Wesleyan School. It was modified and made specific to Wesleyan, and the Passport Club was then made.
A committee of six chairs, with the help of 20 parent volunteers makes Passport Club possible each month. Students from grades one to four participate in the club each month at different levels. Thomson was passionate about getting the club started because she knew this would be a fun and rewarding way for students to learn geography. She said, “The students learn that there is more to the world than Peachtree Corners, and they gain proficiency in geography. I think one of the biggest benefits is the students’ exposure to other cultures.”
The lower school students have been impacted by Passport Club because it has given them vast knowledge of geography and other cultures at a young age. For fourth grader Harrison Moore, Passport Club has been a big part of his lower school career. He tests at level five each month and won the Geography Bee as a third grader. Moore said, “I like being in Passport Club because it is fun to practice and learn where all the countries are.” Moore also enjoys going to the World Market each year. He said, “The toys from World Market come from different countries, and I think that is cool.”
Wesleyan parent Stephanie Spitzer has been a huge part of the lower school Passport Club. It takes a copious amount of work each month to organize the club. Spitzer said, “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Passports are made for each child, and we have to prepare for each month’s testing and video.” Spitzer has two daughters: fifth grader Ella Spitzer, who has gone through Passport Club as a level five student, and first grader Reagan Spitzer, who is just starting Passport Club this year. Reagan Spitzer said, “ I am excited to be in Passport Club this year, so that I can get world bucks and go to the World Market.” This month, Reagan has studied the countries Algeria, Panama, Turkey and Mongolia. Reagan Spitzer said, “I study at home, and it makes it easier to do well on the tests.” Passport Club has benefited the Spitzer children by helping them learn the countries and capitals of the world. Stephanie Spitzer said, “It is wonderful that we are teaching the lower school students about the world around us.”