By Deanne Benson, Head of School, Lesley Ellis School
This year, 4th and 5th grade students at Lesley Ellis School were invited to a new group, Identity and Belonging for Me and Everyone, or IBMe for short.
Facilitated by school counselor, Janelle Provencher, and Grade 4 teacher, John Howard, an enthusiastic group of students attend IBMe every other week.
Students attending the group are encouraged and supported to explore their identities and discuss what they and others need to feel a sense of belonging both in school and out. The goal is that through these efforts students will increase their sense of self and feel empowered to contribute toward positive change – using their voices to not only improve their own circumstances, but also those of underserved or marginalized communities.
Some examples of topics that are discussed are stereotypes, gender, race, class, allyship, privilege and inclusion. Students are encouraged to bring topics that interest them and are always encouraged to bring forward their voices and ideas.