Kindness Focus This Year On Creating A More Inclusive Learning Community and Treating Those Who Are "Different Than Us" With Kindness

Throughout the year, but in particular from February to June of 2023, the staff at McKay have provided classroom-based and school-wide learning experiences designed to teach our students ways to be kind to others - and especially those who they see as different. We believe strongly that the diverse cultural backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, interests, hobbies, passions, gender and/or sexual identity, learning styles, neurodiversities and physical abilities should be valued, honoured and celebrated.

Our staff are deeply committed to creating learning environments and communities where all of our students feel safe, connected, engaged - and where everyone, regardless of their differences, feels that who they are as a learner and as a human being is valued. We work hard every day to create a culture of inclusion where all students feel good about themselves, have positive relations with others, and feels a sense of connection, security and belonging when they come to our school each day.

From February 14th to 22nd our students participated in learning experiences that focused on "Lifting Each Other Up Through Kindness". On February 14th, to celebrate Friendship on Velentine's Day, McKay staff and students wore red and white. At the beginning of the day, we gathered in our K to 7 Family Teams in the gym, and kicked off our Kindness focus - previewing some of the ways your students were going to learn about being kind to others. Then each of the Family Teams headed to a classroom with a teacher sponsor and created some beautiful balloon displays - where each student in the school wrote a message of kindness or a way to show kindness to others. The end result was 12 "Lift Each Other Up..." displays posted throughout the school, with hundreds of message about being kind, created by our students. 

This year's focus on Kindness targeted ways to be kind to others - and in particular, those who we see as different than us. McKay is a wonderfully diverse community - with students and families from various backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities - and so we focused on ways to ensure that all students feel included valued and welcomed while at school - and that they feel safe, secure and connected within our community. 

Our Kindness focus culminated on Pink Shirt Day - where we celebrated the learning that took place and all of the acts of kindness demonstrated but our students through the previous 9 days of learning.

But we did not stop this exploration of being kind to "others": Classroom learning activities from February to the end of June promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity included anti-racism education, bullying awareness and prevention, teaching social responsibility through our CARES acronym, standing up for vulnerable members within our community, including LGBTQ+ members, people of First Nations descent, and neurodiverse learners. Our SEL committee created a school-wide celebration of the various cultures within our school community with two Diversity Days on May 5th and 12th, and then led a professional development activiity at our May 18th Pro-D day, where we created clear expectations for CARES behaviours during our recess and lunch breaks.

Please see the Evidence Posts with our School Story for student responses to our work to make McKay, which is a wonderful place to call home, an even kinder and more inclusive learning environment for everyone.

Updated: Monday, July 24, 2023