Our school community is equality based and multicultural. We uphold,respect and accept equality of beliefs, whether religious or non-religious, and we celebrate diverse lifestyles held by children, parents, staff and members of the wider community.
In addition to the National Curriculum, our school follows an Ethical Core Curriculum,which focuses on the children’s moral and spiritual development. It has four main strands:
1. Moral and spiritual development,
2. Equality and justice issues,
3. Ethics and the environment,
4. Belief systems and religions.
It is important to understand that, by its very nature, an equality based education is not a substitute for religious education or catechism. The Board of Management facilitates any group of the school community who wishes to organise religious or ethical instruction outside the school programme.
Our equality based l instruction leads our children to:
- Understand the concept and importance of different beliefs and values, religious and non-religious.
- Learn about the different customs, rituals and traditions of various cultures, communities and religions.
- Feel free to express their own creed and celebrate their own festive days without feeling isolated and/or discriminated against
Positive illustrations of our equality based principle and Ethical Core Curriculum
(a) Moral and spiritual development addresses issues related to values and behaviour.
- Our school follows the “Walk Tall” programme, which encourages respect for oneself and others. We emphasise the fact that stealing, hurting someone physically and/or verbally, lying, and so on, are not acceptable. Discussions are held with children to encourage acceptance, tolerance and understanding of the customs and rituals observed by different religious and ethnic communities.
- Each year, our school holds a “friendship week”, which ends with a little show where children sing songs about friendship and refer to personal experiences.
- As part of our anti-bullying policy, we have a “telling policy”, encouraging children to report incidents and concerns. All are involved in promoting this policy, and children’s posters with “tell” written on them can be seen throughout the school.
(b) Equality and justice addresses issues related to discrimination and racism.
- Our school is non-racist and non-discriminatory. Children are taught in an environment where they understand that skin colour, gender, religion, or social background may not constitute a basis for discrimination. For example, in classroom work children have learned about Dr Martin Luther King’s human rights movement for Afro-Americans in the 1960’s, which highlighted the right of all to self expression.
- Throughout the school programme, we aim to help children recognize prejudice and discrimination, and to develop an empathy and concern for their fellow human beings. We also strive to challenge stereotyping, allowing equal acceptance of the different cultures present in our school.
- We have organized cultural exhibitions where parents and children from different countries brought in traditional, typical objects to be displayed in the library.
- We have organized a little market where children and parents could buy products imported from developing countries – this raised funds which were given to an invited Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
(c) Ethics and the environment addresses issues related to right and wrong, encouraging responsible choices.
- Here, we address broader ethical issues such as health (e.g., healthy eating) and the environment (e.g., pollution, cleaning and recycling). The children are actively encouraged to take responsibility for their own surroundings.
- Our school is working towards becoming a “Green School”. Staff and children are involved in recycling of cardboard, plastic and paper as well as composting of fruit and vegetable waste. We also plan to develop a school garden and to begin anti-litter initiatives.
- On a daily and weekly basis, children are allocated duties to look after their classroom.
- To help address healthy eating and promote responsible choices in relation to drugs, we invite and welcome input from health professionals.
(d) Beliefs systems and religions, fostering awareness and acceptance of various belief systems.
- We foster knowledge and understanding of various religious and philosophical ideas. No religion or belief system is prioritised and the children learn to accept diverse beliefs as the norm.
- In our classrooms, we display and follow the multi-faith calendar. It is our aim that the main festivals of the religions represented in the school are discussed and informed on each year within the class-room, at an age-appropriate level.
- Information concerning different religions and belief systems is displayed on the school notice board for all the school community. This is updated each month, under the guidance of a teacher who has special responsibility for ethos and belief systems.
- Traditional dress is accepted in school and allows the opportunity for full expression of each individual’s cultural identity.
- In the classroom children learn about the various cultural events which are of importance to our community, for instance the Chinese New Year, The Hindu Festival of Lights (Diwali), The harvest festival, Halloween, Christian major festivities of Christmas and Easter, Muslim Ramadan, Eid and Jewish Hanukah.
- We regularly invite members of our community who follow different religions or beliefs to discuss their belief with the children.
- Cultural events are organised to offer opportunities to socialise and enjoy our diversity as a community. For instance, our always-successful Gourmet Night, which is now held every second year.