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Bainbridge – The Island School: The Month of Indonesia

Dr. Christina Sunardi teaching the students how to play gamelan

April 12, 2017

This week we are featuring an article written by our Managing Director Rebakah Daro Minarchek.

The Island School on Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, annually plans and implements a month of K-5 curriculum focused on a single country. This year, the school’s planning team chose Indonesia to highlight across all subjects and requested the Southeast Asia Center’s assistance in coordinating programming. SEAC faculty, staff, and graduate students all assisted in a variety of activities, both at the school and on the UW campus.

Our staff team traveled to Bainbridge Island in early March to speak with teachers about Indonesian material cultural items and to offer a lending library of various items.  Here teachers feel a batik tulis material and learn the difference between batik tulis, batik cap, and machine-produced batik.

All students had the opportunity to visit the UW campus. While on campus they visited the Islamic House, the Gamelan room with SEAC faculty member Christina Sunardi, and participated in a rice tasting demonstration with SEAC staff. Students voted on their favorite rice from those tasted and red rice was the clear winner.

Anthropology graduate student and SEAC affiliate Imam Subkhan also participated in a classroom visit to the school. He spoke to students about the typical school experience for Indonesian children and shared his own personal experiences.

Former Outreach Coordinator Tikka Sears visited the school as a part of the collaboration, hosting a multiple day workshop for students in music and movement. She also returned to do a wayang performance for the students, parents, and teachers.

If you are interested in doing outreach events with the Southeast Asia Center, let us know! We also have resources for K-12 educators on our SEAC webpage, which you can find here. In this section, we feature curriculum units, book recommendations and country profiles. We are currently working on a section called “Teachable —” that highlights themes and subjects from Southeast Asian countries with lesson ideas and other resources. You can check out our Teachable Indonesia guide here.

If you are interested in helping with our education outreach, we are still looking for any Southeast Asian “artifacts” donations for our cultural kits for students throughout Washington State. These items will not be returned and we would like items that are kid-friendly and small enough to fit in a medium flat-rate box through UPS. Items can be samples of bills or coins, weavings, CDs of music, children’s books, games, anything. If you have an item, you can bring it to the Southeast Asia Center (Thomson Hall Room 303) or email us at to arrange a pickup.