A community of belonging
“Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity”- Audre Lorde
This statement echoed throughout the Junior Prep and was emphasised during Heritage month (September) and Diversity Awareness month (October). A positive sense of identity is crucial to the development of self-esteem and confidence. The latter traits are essential when children become aware of what makes them unique and how this uniqueness creates limitless connections and affinity groups to which we can belong. This is the essence of being a part of One & All.
This term the Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) curriculum continued its collaboration with transformation and diversity in producing thought provoking discussions. All grades, in partnership with specialist teachers, were tasked to create a big question where the overarching golden thread was the notion of a community of belonging. This ensured that any provocation explored would result in engaging with the topic at hand. This approach of integrating the rules of engagement, attitudes and soft skills with the academic programme, benefits the global leaders of tomorrow. Our children are exploring citizenship and agency and realising they are accountable for being the change they wish to see. Their passion for environmental and social justice is evident despite their young age. The onus is upon us as parents and institutions of learning to guide and support their thinking.
The creativity and innovation observed was astounding. One big question led to a myriad of interpretations and discussions. Grade RR explored how bees make honey, delving into the importance of smaller parts performing their duties to ensure the benefit of the entire colony. Grade R focused on changes around them and how small alterations can result in identifying with various communities simultaneously. Grade One paid particular attention to the things that make them and the Saints community unique. They used thinking maps, projects and orals to make their thinking visible and share their diversity. Grade Two investigated the meaning of belonging and how we could create spaces where people from all walks of life felt acknowledged and included. In addition to thinking maps and projects they conducted investigations and interviews with members of the Saints community to learn from their experience and use it to build a stronger One & All. The nature of these conversations meant we'd often digress and discuss topics the children were inquisitive about. These included the meaning of differently abled, how difference creates uniqueness, that people can belong to more than one community and how we can use diversity to add value to innovations of the future.
The carefully planned and executed lessons from each grade are a testament to the calibre of our teaching staff. The tiered progression of discussions from Grade RR through to Grade 2 were relevant, age appropriate and piqued the interest of each group. We look forward to continuing the infusion of T&D emergent themes with our academic curriculum and sharing the journey with our community.