The Rainbow Club for Everyone at Wakefield Elementary

Wakefield Elementary library

The employees of the Western Québec School Board firmly believe every student deserves to feel safe, welcomed and included while they are on our grounds and in our care. June marks Pride Month in Canada but all year long, our schools and centres work to create a feeling of belonging for students and staff from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Some fly Pride flags and have Pride murals outside their schools, while others are peppered with inclusive messaging and images in their hallways and classrooms.

Another way some schools have chosen to accomplish this goal is through the creation of clubs that focus on inclusion. The Rainbow Club for Everyone at Wakefield Elementary, offered to Grade 1 to 6 students, does just that. It is a safe space for all students to learn in an age-appropriate way from different perspectives, celebrate diversity as well as to practice self-love and self-confidence.

The Rainbow Club for Everyone functions on a drop-in model and hosts anywhere from 25-50 students at a time. Running the club involves careful preparation by a team of dedicated staff members and parent volunteers to make sure every student in attendance feels included and valued. With whole-hearted support from their principal Julie Fram-Greig, teachers Allysun Wellburn, Miriam Serré, Lara Guenette and Emily Parker lead the club, which runs twice a month in the library.

The students first meet in the library for lunch. As Wakefield students typically eat lunch in their own class, this is a wonderful opportunity to share a meal with friends from other classrooms and grade levels. Afterward, the students get to the planned activity, which thus far has included art projects, discussions, reading books and guest speakers from the local high school.

One of the teachers who facilitates the Rainbow Club has found the work to be healing for themselves and believes it would have been a life-changing experience if they had been given a similar opportunity during their time in elementary school. The Rainbow Club for Everyone is only in its first year of running, and everyone involved is excited to see where else they can take the club and what kinds of opportunities they can offer their students.

It takes a lot of planning, preparation and dedication to host a club that offers students such a wide variety of activities. The Western Québec School Board extends their gratitude to the Wakefield Elementary staff members and parent volunteers who give their time and energy to this worthwhile initiative.

Special thank you to the Rainbow Club for Everyone facilitators Allysun Wellburn, Miriam Serré, Lara Guenette and Emily Parker for providing the information for this article.

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