Current events have shown us that we all have far more in common than not. Through this global experience, we are seeing the positive impacts of fostering a multicultural society and working together across nations. This philosophy of multiculturalism is at the heart of Stamford American International School’s (SAIS) annual International Fiesta, an event that has long been a highlight on the school calendar. Given the current situation, however, a few tweaks to the format were required. The result? A different event than usual at this school in Singapore – but one that celebrated diversity just as strongly as in past years.
Celebrating a multicultural society in a new way
From 23 to 27 March, SAIS students participated in an internal International Mindedness Week, in place of the annual Fiesta. The aim of the week was to further an understanding of multiculturalism in the school community. It was a reflection of how the students practice international-mindedness as part of the curriculum; they do this through multilingualism, multiculturalism, participating in intercultural activities and global engagement.
On 25 March, for example, students and teachers alike came to school wearing their unique national dress and colours. In this way and others, the SAIS core values of Integrity, Courage, Ingenuity and Compassion were revisited throughout the event as a reminder to the school community of how connected everyone is – connected through belief systems, cultures and humanity. Consequently, students were able to see how collective cultural intelligence allows them to act as agents of change for a more peaceful and sustainable world.
A word from the teachers
How else did the SAIS community put these plans into action? In the Early Years, parents sent in books, videos and also artefacts from their home cultures to be used in classrooms to engage students in conversations about identity and international mindedness.
The Middle School, meanwhile, took part in activities that embraced the diversity of SAIS’s student body:
“Grade 7 has been celebrating International Mindedness Week in the knowledge that, with so much going on in the world around us, it’s good for us all to take a step back – to realise we’re a community from around the world and that is something to celebrate. Students have been engaging in a range of activities; these include international quizzes, listening to music from around the world and learning phrases from some of the SAIS community’s native languages. These remind students of the international community they’re part of, and how they can always give and receive support within this community during these troubled times.”
– Mr Gavel and Mr Robson, Grade 7 teachers
“Despite the challenging circumstances, we’re all working through, on and off campus, it was uplifting to see so many Grade 8 students celebrating international-mindedness by proudly wearing country colours on Wednesday. They’re representing their own countries of origin, but also supporting the countries currently in a health crisis. All these activities are a timely reminder to SAIS students that they’re part of a global community. Most importantly, they’ve shown them that no matter where we live or where we’re from, we are all in this together.”
– Ms Rkulovik and Mr Burrows, Grade 8 teachers
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