Diversity is Being Invited to the Party
Would you like to dance?
Ms Reeve writes about Greenfield's approach to inclusion.
We hear the word ‘diversity’ a lot. It can mean many things and cover many topics, and it is a word we have often used to describe Greenfield. We have always strived to be welcoming, to be a place where all children, wherever they may come from or whatever their background may be, feel at home. But, if we are really honest with ourselves, being diverse is really only the first step, and we owe it to our children to ensure that their environment at school is truly inclusive.
Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.
~ Vernā Myers
There are many facets to creating an inclusive environment and changes both big and small need to be made in order to achieve this goal. The language we use and the examples we give in lessons can resonate or alienate. Resources age, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the resources we use are representative of our own ethos and culture. Some changes may affect every person in the school and others may only impact one pupil, but they are all essential to our continued growth as a school.
As an educator, it can sometimes feel overwhelming; as though everything we do is outdated and, as a result, harmful to those we are working so hard to protect and educate. But if we can become brave enough to move away from the static safety of what we know, and challenge ourselves to admit that we do not know it all, then perhaps this is where the true value of inclusion really lies. Classrooms where teachers recognise that the reality of a child may be more authentic than their own in celebrating various cultures, religions and backgrounds, and can learn from the child's experiences, can produce the most productive, dynamic and successful lessons imaginable. And a child who recognises their own value in this way is already better prepared for adult life, and more able to convey that value to others.
What we are coming to learn is that our work on inclusivity is never done, and we should never claim it to be so. Instead, we are challenging ourselves to acknowledge our own bias and learn from the fantastic children in our care.
Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.
~ Jesse Jackson
Monday 27th September represented the start of National Inclusion Week, and we are using this as an opportunity for Greenfield leadership, staff, children and families to reflect on our culture and consider ways in which we can truly embed inclusion into every fibre of that culture.
During Inclusion Week, and throughout the coming months, the children will be taking part in a range of activities designed to help us evaluate our inclusivity across the school. One such task will include a book review project, where the children will evaluate a book that they feel best represents them. This simple activity will ensure that our pupils feel seen in the literature on offer at Greenfield, and it will enable us to identify areas which could be better represented in our library and curriculum.
In addition, we will be using a map to help us tangibly evaluate the diversity within our school community by asking parents and children to show where they are from. There is something incredibly impactful about seeing our community in this way, and it is our aim that it will help us to ensure everyone within our community is seen and heard. The children will also be coming up with their own Inclusion Charter, allowing them the opportunity to verbalise their understanding of inclusion and to embed it within our community.
Throughout the year, children and staff will be working on an ‘What Makes Me, Me’ activity where everyone can share and celebrate their differences with their peers. In Art, Music, Drama and Understanding the World the children will be looking at examples of neuro-diverse and culturally-diverse musicians and leaders. Senior staff will be working together to write and publish a school wide Inclusion Policy, embedding the changes we have made in to the fabric of the school. Across the academic year, each scheme of work will be audited to ensure that our curriculum is diverse and inclusive.
When everyone is included, everyone wins.
~ Jesse Jackson
The children and staff will be working together to ensure that our culture is consciously inclusive. We are working to abolish barriers to learning, devoting time and resources to our curriculum in order to truly represent every child.
Whilst we continue to celebrate diversity, we will be investing in inclusion and working to make Greenfield a place where every no child questions their validity. The result, we believe, will benefit us all.
A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.
~ Islamic Proverb
Assistant Head, Head of Middle School, Head of Music and Drama