Pluralism in Action

Pluralism in Action

People often ask, what does pluralism look like on campus? Pluralism is intentional. It is at the heart of everything we do at PS1. It starts at the very beginning of the year when each teacher writes what they honor, value, and cherish about each student in their classroom in order to help shape his or her guidance and support throughout the year. It continues when we celebrate one another’s learning during Circle Time assemblies and Open House, and still when we acknowledge each child at Graduation and Moving Up Day. It is how we recognize students for the good choices they make on the playground, and how we teach students to engage in respectful dialogue—even when they disagree! PS1 students are in the habit of actively engaging with one another in order to recognize and appreciate both their similarities and their differences.

The 2015 Graduating class at PS1 memorialized a quote from A.A. Milne as their parting gift to the school: “The things that make me different are the things that make me.” During a Youngers class council meeting this year, students (ages 5-6) discussed the concept of Pluralism. After reading a small excerpt from Dr. Seuss’s book, Happy Birthday to You, the students contemplated what the word “pluralism” means. It’s remarkable to see their emerging understandings of complex ideas, and we know the rest of their time at PS1 will continue to develop and deepen their understanding of this core value.

  • People have different thoughts. I think different things than other people. I can still be friends with someone who thinks different things.
  • I think pluralism means there’s lots of different kinds of people from all over the world.
  • Pluralism means that there’s nobody in the world who is exactly the same as you.
  • I think pluralism is a really big community that is helping to build an even bigger community.
  • I think it means that when you are born you are born in many ways of being different. It’s important because if you think different, you can come up with really good ideas.
  • I think everything is different. Like the trees are different, all the animals are different, and all the people are different.
  • Pluralism means there’s a whole bunch of different people and being different is a good thing. It’s boring if you’re all the same.

Pluralism in Action Posts

Teaching Tolerance: The Blue Class Explores The Theme of Identity

As the Blue class moves deeper into the Teaching Tolerance curriculum (a curriculum founded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, focused on diversity, equity, and justice and utilized by all Clusters at PS1), students expand their horizons by understanding and embracing their identity, the identity of others, and the impact these have on their personal relationships. Students navigate ways to recognize unfairness and develop strategies on how to take action through role-plays, read alouds, petitions, discussions, films, and inquiries. Through this study, the Blue class builds a foundation of community awareness that focuses on unity and inclusiveness, while taking the initiative to better our community of learners and beyond.

Olders Stewardship Programs - An Important Facet of the 7-Year PS1 Experience

As part of the Olders' Stewardship Program, 5th and 6th-grade equivalent students spend time in Youngers classes each week, helping Youngers with classwork, projects, reading, and more. The connections made between these groups of students foster a sense of belonging for all children at PS1, an understanding that we all learn from one another, and that each person plays a vital role in our community. These connections are evident on the playground and even on the camping trip, when the older campers welcomed their younger counterparts to a new experience. The opportunity for our students to develop into such strong leaders is an important component of PS1's 7-year elementary experience.

Baseball and Social Justice: The Story of Cool Papa Bell

Through a special visiting performance, students learned the true story of James Thomas (“Cool Papa”) Bell, considered to be the fastest man ever to play professional baseball. The play, Shadow Ball, presented by Rochel Garner Coleman, recreated the life and times of the men in the Negro Leagues from the early 1920's, through the Great Depression, to the breaking of the color barrier by Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Through stories and music, students (and teachers, too!) were captivated by the compelling story that wove together baseball, democracy, history, and social justice.

Monarch Butterfly Migration

At PS1, we know every individual has bountiful knowledge to share. Everyone has something to teach, in and out of the classroom! Recently, Jose, a member of our Facilities team, visited the Red Class to share his experiences seeing Monarch butterflies migrating to his hometown of Michoacan, Mexico. He and his daughter, Isabelle, brought stories, facts, and photos of the incredible Monarchs that make the same journey each year to warmer climates. Students wondered how the butterflies travel the same route year after year based on instinct. Everyone was excited to receive their own Monarch butterfly pin to wear. (When PS1 built the field of Dreams, some of our plantings were specifically intended to attract Monach butterflies!)

Honoring Different Approaches in CGI Math

Teachers Kitaka and Julie explain how they begin their math lessons with a number talk, presenting students with an algorithm and asking them to find different ways to solve it. This provides students the opportunity to think about numbers in ways they may not have otherwise, in turn constructing deeper meanings of the concepts taught in class. Students are asked to model their problem-solving strategies using manipulatives, pictures, and diagrams, explaining their mathematical thinking to their classmates. Students discover that there can be many different ways to approach a problem, and each student’s process can be unique. Teachers (as facilitators) work to scaffold their thinking and extend it to even more complex ways of analyzing a problem.
This broad, research-based approach to math has proved its worth in many situations and we know it will prove the same over the long-term at PS1.

The National Association of Independent Schools' People of Color Conference

Teachers and staff gathered together for a professional development day to learn more about the annual People of Color Conference that many of our faculty and staff members attended in Anaheim. The entire group participated in mini-workshops and hands-on activities, led by the 19 attendees, focused on topics such as affinity groups, micro-aggressions, and how to build relationships across commonalities and differences. This meaningful and impactful work led to insightful dialogue about identity and inclusivity and demonstrated PS1's steadfast commitment to Pluralism.