Diversity Awareness Activity

A very important, experiential activity took place at Athens College Elementary School on Monday 2nd, Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th of December following the initiative of a parent who collaborated with the Administration and P.E. Department to expand upon the experiential, research project on the topic of diversity.

Owing to International Day of Persons with Disabilities, coach Giorgos Gkountas, along with athletes from Ionas Sports Club, Loukia Kyriazis, Nikos Kyttaris, Christos Koromilas, Antonis Pappas, Dimitris Litsios, and Alexis Koutselos, visited the school.  They first spoke to 5th grade students and followed this with presentations to 1st, 2nd and 6th grade students; thus, giving an opportunity to more students to understand the meaning of diversity experientially.

 

The objectives of the activity were:

  • to raise student awareness of disability-related issues,
  • to cultivate empathy, and
  • to motivate students to trust themselves, set goals and fight for themselves.

 

Our students initially attended a presentation by the coach of Ionas Sports Club during which he spoke about the daily life of people with disabilities, as well as about the sports in which members of the Club are involved. Our students then had an opportunity to try out sports equipment that the athletes had brought with them. They raced using a hand-driven, off-road go-kart, rode bicycles specially designed for the blind, and played soccer blindfolded, using a special ball with jingling bells.  They also ran races in pairs, each student in the pair holding on to the end of the same rope.  One was blindfolded and the other acted as his/her guide.  Thus, our students gained an understanding of the importance of assistants to runners with visual impairments.

 

 

 

It is worth noting that the activity to raise students’ awareness of diversity is directly related to the 5th grade Unit of Inquiry as the areas of research that students are examining are the ways in which diversity are expressed in everyday life, our attitudes towards diversity, as well as the reasons diversity is necessary in societies.

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Lastly, our students chatted with the athletes and asked them questions about their athletic lives.

 

    

 

 

This activity enabled students to think critically about people with disabilities, to see what changes in their own habits might improve the lives of people with disabilities, and to understand that diversity is a springboard to a meaningful life.

 

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of this activity.