World Down Syndrome Day at European School

Grade 4 and 5 students in the Georgian and International sectors of European School recently conducted long term projects in connection with World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) which officially took place on March 21st.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) section it all started with the unit ‘Let’s help each other’ in Grade 4 whereby students discussed different learning and physical disabilities and initiated projects to help beneficiaries with disabilities. Grade 5 students in their turn began to prepare for an exhibition on Human Rights. The central idea for the unit was ‘Accessibility of opportunities affects equality’ with the lines of inquiry as:

Our right to live freely;

How opportunities enhance or hinder our future;

Influences that affect opportunities;

Action that can be taken to ensure human rights are being met.

In connection with the above, students created various projects, one of which was to have the group attend a specially prepared inclusive stage show in Marjanishvili Theatre. Prior to the premiere of the theater play in celebration of WDSD, European School IB students prepared some questions. Actors with Down Syndrome (DS) had leading roles in the play and after the performance, students took interviews from the participants and the director. The interviews were then used within exhibition presentations to raise community awareness on the topic. “The theater was great,” said 11-year-old Luka Demetrashvili. “We talked to the playwright and he said his blood pressure was usually over 400. But when he started working with the disabled actors, his blood pressure went down to 200. He says that the people with disabilities he worked with were kind and very good learners and that helped him.”

The Georgian section of European School also hosted an awareness talk about Down Syndrome. Grade 4 students collected stationery for beneficiaries with DS and visited the rehabilitative center for DS children named ‘The Children of the Sun.’ Students were involved in joint activities and celebrated the day together. They then created informative posters with the title ‘Children of the Sun’ and the tag line “one more chromosome- one more merit” and presented various aspects of Down Syndrome to others by discussing what DS means, what can cause it, how it is identified visually, what is typical for Downs sufferers (physical signs, mental qualities…) and what the children can do to help these people become valuable members of society.

Videos were also shown to fellow students presenting the positive sides of DS people, leaving pupils with the common impression that DS children are “smart, friendly and caring.”

The messages from the events organized were both impressive and very supportive of real inclusion and community based friendships.

Katie Ruth Davies

07 April 2016 20:17