In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, The Country School celebrated its 6th annual IDEA Day, a full day of hands-on workshops designed to allow students to experience empathy and explore the perspectives of others. IDEA Day (IDEA stands for Interpreting Diversity Education through Action) was introduced in 2013 by Gabby Mbeki, then a 5th Grade teacher, who recalled a similar transformative program when she was in Middle School. Working with her Country School colleagues, she organized the first IDEA Day to coincide with observance of Martin Luther King Day, with workshops designed to help Country School students view the world differently through a better understanding of the nature and development of diversity on a personal, national, and global scale. (For a newspaper article on that first IDEA Day and its founder, click here.)
This year's workshops also focused on cooperation, our theme for the year. For 5th-8th Graders, offerings included: Social Awareness through Music, Poetry Out Loud, Cooperation Makes it Happen: Baking, Circles of My Multicultural Self, This Is Me, Diversity and Genetics, Journey's Privilege Exercise, The Best Part of Me, and Yes, And. Students in PreSchool-Grade 4 collectively read the book Swimmy and then engaged in workshops, including: Multicultural Games, Peace Doves, Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, Martin's Big Words, and David's Drawings. In true Country School fashion, the workshops were both meaningful and fun. More photos here.
In a letter to The Country School Community on MLK Day, Head of School John Fixx wrote, "Our school mission reads, 'We nurture every student's unique role in the community,' and that means that we value their differences. We live our mission daily by 'encouraging students to embrace differences, explore new perspectives, and find common ground in a multicultural world.' We honor this ethos especially through our IDEA Day and Theme Day workshops, but also every day when we teach empathy and kindness."
For more see Mr. Fixx's blog, In Partnership with Families