Celebrating our Culturally Diverse Community
“Today’s world requires that we accept the oneness of humanity,” the Dalai Lama.
At St Catherine’s we are fortunate to have a great many cultures from all over the world represented in our School community.
The most recent demonstration of this was at our ‘Celebrating Cultural Diversity’ Assembly in Barbreck. This was a wonderful chance to celebrate our School’s diversity. Everyone in the Junior School thoroughly enjoyed hearing from students and teachers alike who shared their own personal stories, facts and information from their varied cultural backgrounds.
Some of the countries and cultures we learnt about included Greece, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Israel, India, China and Italy. We also learnt that over 25 cultures are represented in Barbreck alone. Too many to list here, though many of our students were able to share insight about their own cultural history by completing a speech bubble along with a photograph to add to the related display.
It was lovely to see the interest generated by this display and the many discussions that were sparked amongst students from the sharing of these accounts. I heard reports of many great discussions taking place within the classrooms and certainly, it sparked conversations amongst the teachers within our very own staffroom.
We enjoyed choral performances, led by Junior School Music Coordinator Mrs Melissa Dods. We heard from both our Langley Choir who contributed to the Assembly by singing a folk song in Gaelic, and the Heyington Choir who performed a traditional Israeli song in Hebrew.
The benefits for our School community in having such a range of cultures represented in our student body are many and varied. Teaching and learning within a diverse community creates an enriching environment in our School; we are offered a snapshot into other parts of the world right here within our immediate environment. Our differences offer variety as well as opportunities to:
- value difference
- respect cultures and opinions
Broadening our perspectives and developing a better understanding of others is our goal. Allowing ourselves the opportunity to embrace new ideas in turn enhances our own education and builds upon our knowledge. We are then more able to fully appreciate our place in this world and as a part of the global community. When we embrace the knowledge, experiences, and perspectives of our peers, our teachers and our colleagues, it helps us understand the richness of life as it is experienced in cultures other than our own. This also allows us to appreciate and value our own culture.
Our world is growing smaller every day. Preparing our students, and our children, for life as part of a multicultural and globally connected community is an important responsibility that we all must share. The diversity within our School helps us do this by preparing them for their adult life and to find their place in this world, perhaps through travelling, living, working or studying within other cultures. Many of our international students are already doing this by immersing themselves within our culture here at St Catherine’s.
Our students who sit between two or more cultures are encouraged, supported and shown that our School is a supportive community, where each individual has the right to feel a sense of belonging. Students from all backgrounds are provided opportunities to share, discuss and to feel pride in their own cultural identity. This sense of belonging develops out of the respect shown for one another. Embracing diversity within our community leads to the development of positive relationships and connections and will allow us all to see our shared world from a new perspective. The translation of these values, attitudes and behaviours beyond the school years will see our students leading by example.
Our School is a living, thriving example of many different cultures joining together within a close community cooperatively, positively, respectfully and harmoniously. Whilst we observe that we have differences from culture to culture, it is important to notice that we, humankind also have a great many things in common.