First Grade First Graders enjoyed two stories that support DEI work in the Lower School, The Colors of Us by Karen Katz and All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka. Teachers facilitated conversations through the stories about our varying and beautiful skin tones. Students then created self-portraits, focusing on accurately capturing our differences and similarities.
Fourth Grade Our fourth graders recently engaged in a series of rich discussions on the topic of community. After defining a community as a place where people can live, work, and play, students began to ponder what communities they belonged to. Student responses were diverse, including groups that represented their ethnicity or culture, religious affiliation, school, sports teams and hobbies, neighborhoods, and even favorite local businesses.
After identifying these communities, students then brainstormed how they could support the ones they belong to. One student stated that they can try their best or volunteer their time when thinking of their soccer club. Another student suggested helping in the community garden of their church or picking up trash. A discussion about race began as students identified that that was one community that you are born into and don’t have the choice to select. A student reflected aloud that although he is part of the African-American community, he didn’t know how he could show support besides protesting. To this point, a peer remarked how important it is to hear the perspectives and experiences of our peers to fully understand and appreciate varying life experiences, and how this relates to the color of our skin.
The last discussion posed the question of how can we support communities that we are not a part of. This challenged the students to think outside themselves and even their own communities. A few hands went up after someone mentioned the pandemic. They had said they had written cards for doctors and nurses or donated clothes and toys to people in shelters. The central theme of kindness wove its way through their answers as all agreed the number one way to show support to anyone, whether in your community or not, was to be kind.
Fifth Grade Fifth Graders talked about communities that have united during COVID and communities who have been negatively affected. Students brainstormed some ways in which they can help their own communities, as well as ones they do not belong to.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.