For the duration of October, we have been weaving Black History Month into our curriculum at Grimsdell and providing a range of opportunities for the children to celebrate black culture.
In addition to class-based activities and a wonderful storyteller who visited our school, we have chosen to use literature and our library as a key tool for spreading knowledge and interest in black culture and history and raising its visibility and profile through some beautiful texts and stories. The power of literature and books to spread positive messages, deepen empathy and break down barriers is endless and it starts with the minute a child has access to their first book – well before they can even read. Books allow children to access the world and in this case, to access other children’s experiences and culture.
Black History Month culminated in a powerful assembly where we celebrated the achievements of contemporary black inspirational figures. We looked at how we too could follow their example through the application of the Grimsdell Way and an appreciation of the important role that our ‘learning friends’ play in helping us to foster the important skills of perseverance and learning from our mistakes.
We learnt about:
Serena Williams – the tennis player who is considered the greatest female tennis player of all time.
Maurice Ashley – one of the greatest chess players in the world, achieving International Grandmaster of Chess in 1993
Julie Felix – one of Britain’s most successful ballerinas who has danced with Rudolph Nureyev
Mohammed Farah – one of Britain’s greatest athletes winning 4 Olympic Gold medals.
Having recently watched a news article about the American Ballet dancer, Precious Adams, and the importance of representation, it is important to me that Black History is not just a one-month event. Precious talks of how representation has both inspired and affected her and now she wants to help be a part of that. Her story hit the headlines after questioning why she would wear pink tights as a ballerina and this opened up an important conversation.
At Grimsdell Black History Month has been our own attempt at the representation that we will continue to embed within our school.
I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures of all the books in our library that are now being borrowed and read on a regular basis. In fact, there are many more than this, but in the excitement of Black History Month, most of them have already been checked out! We hope this month we have made a big little difference.