Our children ARE global citizens; from the roots of their own families, to the friends around them, to the things they are able to readily observe through the World Wide Web on a daily basis. As educators, we believe that through the deep and meaningful sharing of our “differences,” we can sharpen our awareness of the world right in front of us. When students learn amongst and from people different from themselves, they consequently learn to better engage with all people, a skill that will be critical in an increasingly globalized and rapidly changing world.
So, how do we do we approach this task? And how do we serve all our students from Preschool through 8th grade? One way is through Global Awareness Week at BCD. This week is that week and our planned activities include a Celebration of Cultures dinner, the middle school Model UN, Preschool Olympics, a guest speaker from the Shropshire Music Foundation
(spreaders of “peace through music” around the world), and various classroom and art projects.
Starting with our youngest, our preschoolers have enjoyed preparing for the Olympics by researching various countries and hosting parent visits to their classrooms to share their families’ heritages. These preschoolers will “compete” in sports representing the official Olympic Games in front of our entire school community sharing their spirit and enthusiasm for learning about new cultures with us all.
Our all-school Celebration of Cultures potluck night celebrates the 60+ international families at our school as well as the unique heritages that we all bring to our community. All BCD families are invited to bring a dish that represents their family’s heritage or just an international dish that their family likes to eat. Families are also encouraged to bring items such as: collections, family artwork, photos, and artifacts to share. Exposure to new and interesting foods as well as international musical performances embed this event into the memories of our students. Alumni still share fond recollections of Celebration of Cultures years later.
Model UN is conducted by our middle school students and exemplifies for them the good that is intended through international diplomacy, creating lessons of acceptance that can only be learned through exploration beyond one’s self. As an authorized International Baccalaureate middle years programme, our middle school is the capstone of our “globally aware citizens” mission initiatives. With an emphasis on inquiry/interdisciplinary structured learning, the IB curriculum is designed to foster a “world view” mind-set by encouraging students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. Studies show that IB learners outperform their non-IB peers in reading and mathematics and are better prepared for rigorous college and university environments. The IB Learner Profile is defined by ten characteristics of which I will highlight how Global Awareness Week supports the following:
Principled: Acting with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities.
Respect for the dignity for others is best born through truly knowing people. Many a social barrier has been broken down upon meeting those that had been previously unknown or misunderstood. It is no small exercise when our students are challenged to seek to understand the viewpoints and needs of other countries and represent those positions to the general assembly at Model UN.
So, whether through Olympics in preschool, art projects in elementary school, or mock diplomacy in middle school, we believe that studying different views, thoughts, values, and cultures only makes us better
global citizens. Our mission compels us to do this work and Global Awareness Week is just one example of how BCD inspires our students to reach their full potential as lifelong learners and responsible, globally aware citizens.BCD homepage