As we continue through our mission and philosophy, it’s time to highlight our emphasis on diversity. This is not your typical approach to diversity–we are intentionally broad, both to avoid trends and to truly embrace the differences that we all have. We are not only thinking about race and ethnicity, although those are important. We appreciate the differing family cultures our students experience (this includes religion, race, ethnicity, as well as geography, politics, and other qualities that don’t fit easily into a bucket), different learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and a variety of goals (some people just want to be comfortable in their own skin, others are looking for emotional/academic safety, while some are aiming to get into top universities and have high-powered jobs).
Celebrating how each child is different provides three values to the community:
- It’s a surefire way to ensure that every child feels respected and cared for. We value each student for the unique combination of traits, gifts, preferences, and skills they bring to our community and, eventually, the world.
- It creates an acceptable context for the things we’re *not* good at or that we don’t do. If it’s a given that everyone isn’t great at everything and everyone will fail sometimes, then we don’t feel don’t feel so bad when others do things well. We need each other, in the context of all that we’re appreciated for, so that we don’t feel singled out for our perceived shortcomings…they’re just par for the course.
- Lastly, it teaches our students to interact with, respect, and appreciate those who are different from them, so that when they encounter differences that may not be represented in our small community, the students are prepared to appreciate them and/or handle them graciously.
Our differences make the world go ’round. They make us stronger. And that’s not the default view of human nature, so we have to teach it actively.