Celebrating Diversity in Astor International School
Diversity is an essential aspect of living in the present time. It is crucial for children to understand, respect and appreciate different cultures, languages, preferences and backgrounds. Research has shown that celebrating diversity in schools not only fosters acceptance, inclusivity and respect in the students, but also enhances their intellectual growth and social skills. Therefore schools play an important role in shaping the future perspectives of children towards diversity. At Astor International School, we make it a priority to recognize and celebrate the unique identities of our students.
Here are some of the ways we celebrate diversity in our school and classrooms.
1. Inclusive classroom
First and foremost, we start by creating a safe and inclusive classroom environment. We ensure that all students feel valued, respected and heard. For example, we incorporate students' cultural backgrounds into our classroom activities and discussions. This creates an environment where students feel comfortable sharing their experiences and learning from each other.
2. Reading books
We also teach our students about empathy and understanding. We believe that this is essential in cultivating a positive and accepting classroom environment. One way we do this is by reading books and stories that highlight diversity. Through these discussions, students are exposed to different perspectives, and their empathy and understanding are enhanced.
3. Multicultural Celebrations
We also celebrate diverse holidays and traditions. We take an entire day in our curriculum to celebrate different festivals and expose students to different cultural traditions and practices. For example, during Hari Raya Puasa, our entire day of learning was centred around the festival. We had 5 classrooms set up as learning stations. Students were put into groups and took turns to rotate around the classrooms. They learned about traditional kuih (pronounced as koo-way) and common practices during Hari Raya Puasa.
4. Classroom materials
Beyond that, we also make a conscious effort to diversify our classroom materials. Our display boards feature images of people from different backgrounds, and our library consists of books that showcase diverse characters and themes. Our learning materials are also created with this in mind. These conscious efforts on our part allow students to see themselves represented and learn about the world beyond their own experiences.
5. Language programs
Astor International School offers several language enrichment classes such as French, Russian and Mandarin. These programmes aim to help students learn different languages from their own and appreciate different cultures too.
6. Astor Diversity Day
Astor International School's Diversity Day brings our students, their parents and staff together to learn, share and celebrate the unique cultures, traditions and perspectives that make us all special. This year we set up 11 booths representing different countries. Everyone could try various food, play games and make crafts from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, India, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, the UK, Argentina, and Spain.
Finally, we encourage our students to embrace their own diversity. We encourage them to share stories about their cultural traditions and experiences with their classmates. This not only increases their confidence in their identity but also helps others learn and appreciate different cultures.
In conclusion, Astor International School strongly believes that celebrating diversity is vital in creating an inclusive learning environment. We believe that by celebrating diversity, we are not only enriching the lives of our students but also preparing them to thrive in a diverse and global society. We are intentional in how we celebrate diversity and we aim to continue to create an environment where students feel safe, respected and valued.