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Including Inclusiveness

Sandbox S. ASEBP | February 21 2018 9:18 AM
1124 Views | 2 Replies

Whether you’re in the planning phase or wrapping up an initiative, it’s important to continuously progress in the area of inclusion as it contributes to a safe and healthy workplace environment. Because of its importance, what are some things wellness champions can do to create and/or maintain a culture of inclusion within a school?

Kylie M. ASEBP | February 22 2018 9:14 AM

According to StepUp BC’s toolkit, Create an Inclusive Workplace, a few components of an inclusive workplace include a welcoming environment where everyone feels respected, equality policies in place and all levels of staff being aware of inclusive values. In addition to the basics, two of my favourite initiatives involve conversation and celebration.

Converse --- A little chitchat can go a long way to creating a culture that is respectful and welcoming. As understanding is the key to challenging biases and misunderstandings about what makes us unique (e.g. culture, disabilities, medical conditions, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), a great way to increase inclusiveness is by encouraging open communication. You can support your teammates by asking questions and valuing each person’s opinion.

Celebrate --- Celebrating isn’t just fun, it helps build bonds! An easy way to do this to create a shared calendar in a visible area of the staff room where all staff—and we mean everyone from bus drives to the principal—can mark down important dates and holidays that are meaningful to them. This will provide everyone the opportunity to learn something new about their co-workers and celebrate the diversity that makes up your community. Examples of events your calendar might include are Chinese New Year, Pride Month, Ramadan, Yom Kippur—just to name a few! To get things started, refer to the Government of Canada’s list of important and commemorative days.

Alternatively, if celebrating a number of small events doesn’t seem feasible, you can opt to host one big event instead where students and staff can share meaningful activities about their culture. Not only will celebrating diversity strengthen positive relationships between staff, but it’ll also model to students how to accept and thrive amongst diversity.

 

Regardless of what you choose to do, what’s important is that you make it your own. Jenn Flynn from APPLE Schools shares a great story on how one school here in Alberta engaged staff and celebrated a local culture through what started off as a simple gesture of gratitude.

Kristyn B. ASEBP | January 25 2019 9:24 AM

I love the idea of having a shared calendar with important dates and holidays—what a wonderful way to build social connections AND learn more about your co-workers! It’s a great example of inclusiveness in individual relationships and it also works towards a school community that fully embraces diversity and inclusion…how sweet is that?!

 

If you’re wondering about your workplace’s culture of inclusion, you might want to check out the Indigenous Works Inclusion Continuum. Their seven-stage continuum can help you pinpoint the current level of inclusion in your workplace. After you know where your workplace stands, you can work on improving or maintaining that stage of inclusiveness. Leadership support, staff engagement and policies and procedures are just a few of the keys to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture that’s rich with diversity and connection!