“We all should know that Diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”
- Maya Angelou
All over the world, December 3 is celebrated as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Through this day, the UN aims to spread awareness around disability, increase acceptance of people with disability and applaud their achievements. At Shiv Nadar School, we observe December 2 to 6 as “Ability Week”, a week dedicated to understanding and celebrating diverse needs and inclusion. For us, fostering true inclusion includes shattering every barrier of discrimination, be it ability, gender, ethnicity, or any other such bias.
Every individual has diverse needs, strengths and vulnerabilities, the only true disability that can exist is a disabling environment. We have thus created an inclusive space, not only through extensive investment in infrastructure, resources, and trainings, but also through focussed efforts towards sensitization of the entire ecosystem, especially when it comes to the needs of students with special educational needs (SEN) as well as those with disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
As a part of the Ability Week, a plethora of activities, events, and discussions for our students were facilitated at all 3 campuses of Shiv Nadar School.
Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon aired special videos and short films dedicated to celebrating diversity such as “The Crayon Box That Talked” and “Ian”, with discussions and reflections following suit. There was a special assembly based on the theme “We Shall Overcome” and students were encouraged to create artwork that showcased what ‘equality’ and ‘inclusion’ meant to each child.
Shiv Nadar School Noida celebrated the week by holding sensitization fairs to build awareness on various aspects of inclusion. The fairs also saw the involvement of organisations such as Feet Me Up and Muskaan Foundation. Recognizing the role of multi-sensorial play in the rapid development of the brain during the early years, a sensory exploration circuit was held for students of the Early Years School, where they could engage all seven of their senses through various activities and play. Aligned with our motto of ‘Education for Life’, a panel discussion was held around the theme of “Transitioning from School to College for students with diverse needs. Several eminent speakers presented their perspectives – ranging from the accommodations available in colleges, to the rights of the differently-abled.
Shiv Nadar School Faridabad conducted special assemblies, not just to disseminate information, but also to give voice to student perspectives on inclusion. The dialogue was further facilitated with various bulletin boards. The week concluded on a high note with the acclaimed disabled rights activist, Jo Chopra on campus and her presentation on mainstreaming and children with disabilities. An engaging round of Q&A followed, with an audience that included both mainstream teachers as well as special educators.
Across all three of our schools, we have seen joy, creativity, and togetherness during this week as we celebrated the uniqueness in each child. Inclusion can only be facilitated within a broader culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem-solving – a vision that must involve not just the entire school community, but all of society as a whole.Dec 18, 2019 by Shiv Nadar School