Nord Anglia's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policy sets out the organisation's desire to "understand and embrace diversity and inclusion and stand against any form of discrimination." This work is coordinated in NA schools by EDI Champions, who collaborate via regional steering groups. As the EDI Champions at BCB, myself and Fabiano Gomes are working to build local awareness and dialogue, helping both students and staff to understand our local context, with the goal of "challenging our students to tackle inequality and promote diversity and inclusion in their young and adult lives."
'Black History Month' can be traced back to a week-long event in 1926, created by Carter G. Woodson, to celebrate the history and achievements of black people. Today, it is celebrated in various countries across the world, at different times of the year. Since we have the Consciencia Negra holiday here in Brazil in November, it made sense for us to use this as an opportunity to celebrate the history and achievements of black Brazilians.
In a country with such high levels of inequality, it feels especially important to educate our students about the positive impact of Black Culture in modern Brazil, which encompasses so much: music, art, literature, fashion, food, sport and agricultural practices, among many more features of Brazilian life. Clearly, in just a month we could only scratch the surface of these topics, but our hope is that it can act as a stepping stone to make our curriculum more inclusive in terms of representing the diversity of the country in which we live.
Over the past month, each age group has engaged in a variety of activities to explore Black History in Brazil. In Early Years and Year 1, the children enjoyed some story time with Mr Gomes, including titles such as Garota Bonita de Laço de Fita and Amora, in addition to learning about Nelson Mandela.
In Year 2, children explored the work of artists such as Romero Brito and Milton Nascimento and produced their own pieces of art inspired by these figures. In Year 3, children studied Maria do Socorro, Machado de Assis and Luiz Gama, and engaged in some guided reading sessions where they were able to learn vocabulary such as quilombo and emancipation. In Year 4, students learned about famous sports stars such as Pele, and incorporated this with their English biography-writing challenge by producing some amazing biographies about Rayssa Leal. Year 5 learned about the African influence on styles of music such as Samba and Tropicália, and produced some lovely Tropicália inspired artwork. Finally, Year 6 were thrilled to learn about African-influenced fashion designers here in Brazil, and worked together in groups to design and make their own colourful carnaval costumes, all culminating in a fashion show at school this week!
Mr Gomes visited classes around the school throughout the month and was able to hear some of the students' thoughts on what they have learned. If you would like to hear from them directly, please watch this video.