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School Stories

Grade 4: Creating S.P.A.C.E. Through Disability Awareness & Allyship

This October, as part of their year-long service learning focus on disability awareness and allyship, fourth graders completed a workshop with local Denver non-profit, Creating S.P.A.C.E. In line with the organization’s mission, the Creating S.P.A.C.E. workshop seeks 
to “provide a cohesive education program that engages communities to embrace all differences and disabilities.” While the recent workshop in Grade 4 included daily conversations and activities for kids, it also consisted of a presentation for fourth grade parents with resources on continuing the conversation at home. 

At school, under the leadership and guidance of Creating S.P.A.C.E. team members, fourth graders got to share, interact, and reflect around five specific topics throughout the week including: Storytelling, Permission, Authenticity, Curiosity, and Education (S.P.A.C.E.). 

Day One: Storytelling
On day one of the workshop, students listened openly to another person’s story around disability, reflected on that person’s experience, and compared the person’s experiences with their own life or someone else they know.

Day Two: Permission
On day two, the fourth graders shared something unique about themselves with the class, listened to one another’s experiences, reflected on what it was like to share and hear stories, and practiced sharing, giving permission, and engaging in conversation.

Day Three: Acceptance
On day three, students described what a safe space is and what it feels like, shared what acceptance feels like to them, and identified words that define a safe space & acceptance in their school community.

Day Four: Curiosity
On day four, fourth graders focused on how to appropriately ask questions to learn more about a person’s story. To do this, each fourth grade class read bios about people with disabilities. After reading their backgrounds, each class decided on one person they wanted to write a letter to as a group to learn more about them. Following this exercise the students had a group discussion about what they most most admired about the person they chose and what strengths they heard in their bios.

Day Five: Education
On the fifth and final day of the workshop, students reflected on what they learned throughout the week around disability and creating safe spaces for one another, shared how they will commit to making a difference in their classroom, school, and community, and created a phrase to remind each other of how they will create space in their communities moving forward.

A special thank you to the Creating S.P.A.C.E. team for the valuable lessons they provided to our community this month! We look forward to carrying out what we learned on our campus by continuing to make it a safe S.P.A.C.E. for all. Stay tuned for more stories about the Grade 4 service learning program throughout the year! 
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1927, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.