There are many initiatives and activities throughout the year in Burnaby Schools that explore kindness, respect and celebrate diversity. Additionally, each February students and staff participate in Pink Shirt Day activities. Created more than a decade ago as an awareness campaign around bullying, the day is another opportunity to talk with students about caring behaviour and the culture we work to create every day in our schools. When students feel welcome, supported, respected and safe, they are more engaged in learning.
In addition to wearing a pink shirt on February 24, students and staff are exploring themes such as anti-bullying, inclusion, kindness, and diversity. Here are just some of the many examples in our schools:
- A wall of kindness filled with messages “lifting each other up” is on display for the wider community in Burnaby as an art installation at Lougheed Town Centre. The kindness messages were created by students at Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Stoney Creek Community School, Cameron and Lyndhurst Elementary schools.
- At Buckingham Elementary, students are also exploring the theme of lifting each other up. Students are attaching kindness pledges to a helium balloon, culminating in a gathering of all the balloons to symbolize how we can collectively lift each other up.
- Alpha Secondary’s Theatre Production class has created a video that acts as a Public Service Announcement about bullying. The students believe that bullying has changed over the years and want to showcase the often subtle and quiet “face” of bullying, so that it is recognizable. Watch.
- In the spirit of kindness, students at Second Street Community School are delivering pink carnations on Pink Shirt Day to seniors’ care homes in their neighbourhood. Learning groups are leaving their flowers in vases left outside of Normanna and George Derby, along with their handmade cards of compassion and hope.
- At Cariboo Hill Secondary, Pink Shirt Day is part of Pride Week with a different focus each day, including a rainbow wall with the statement “love has no gender.”
- At Inman Elementary, Pink Shirt Day is part of “kindness month.” Among the activities are “kindness bingo,” with a challenge to students to complete as many squares as possible. They also explored the idea that it’s okay to be different, after reading the powerful book Ugly.
- Confederation Park Elementary is having a virtual community gathering featuring an acceptance dance called “Firework.”
- A group of students at Burnaby North Secondary are writing multilingual messages on pink shirts to remind us that making languages visible is an important part of community.
A joint letter to families about Pink Shirt Day and the kind of community and culture we work to create in our schools was sent from Board Chair Jen Mezei and Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen:
Although schools look a little different during the pandemic, we have continued to support school connection and safety – for students attending in-person or online. Many school clubs and councils have continued ‘virtually’ to give students opportunities to connect and build community. With more online activity this year, we have continued to focus on Digital Citizenship and respectful, responsible interactions online. We have expanded our ability to do outreach and support all students, with a particular focus on vulnerability during the pandemic, and our Safe and Caring Schools team has coordinated virtual workshops on mindfulness, internet safety, healthy relationships, and restorative education.”
Read the full letter here.
Posted February 2021