Cultural Diversity Week

Last week, Elstree celebrated Cultural Diversity Week.

Pupils had the opportunity to learn more about non-British cultures and consider how diversity as a school contributes to our success and creativity. October is widely acknowledged as Black History month in the UK, and our focus was on African and Caribbean culture, history and heroes.

On Monday Mrs Oliver spoke to our Prep school children about Diversity, and why it is a wonderful thing that no individual is exactly the same as another. Pupils also watched a slideshow in which they learnt about important events and people, such as the life of Jamaican-born, British nurse Mary Seacole and the more current footballer, Marcus Rashford. Pupils were encouraged to discuss and reflect on subjects such as discrimination and racism.  These themes were then developed and scripted by Mrs Oliver and her Year 5 Drama classes, with a performance by both 5JWS and 5JRD, including a song by the Year 7 chapel choir children being staged for the whole school in assembly.  The Year 5 pupils used some of the drama techniques they had learnt in lessons to present some very tricky themes. Well done to every child –  you did a brilliant job!

On Tuesday co-founder and NYC producer of STOMP, Carl Smith ran an exciting body and junk percussion workshop for all of Years 5 and 6. Carl used our theme of Diversity to emphasise how the smallest piece of “junk” or sound can contribute to a creative whole.  After putting together a short piece of body percussion, using clicks, stamping, clapping and varied volume; children moved on to using brooms, buckets, plastic bags, pots and pans to create a rhythmic performance for staff and Years 3 and 4.  We were particularly impressed by the stamina and focus of the pupils – a long morning of rehearsing paid off!

Undoubtedly the highlight of the week was our African Market Experience on Thursday.  Pupils across the school had an opportunity to learn more about Africa, as well as the Caribbean through STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) learning. Visiting workshop leaders Niyi Oduneye of Afrikidz Club and Giselle Idedia founder of Little Genius Club handed out Food Passports to each child. These were used at three different stations of African and Caribbean food displays in the hall.  Children had the opportunity to smell the freshly cooked root vegetables and starches, as well as taste and touch a variety of rice, yams, cassava and plantain – many of which were a novelty.

Finally, there was even an opportunity to learn a Nigerian dance from Mrs Akinola, who kindly organised this vibrant and unforgettable event.