This upcoming Monday, 4 May is Remembrance Day, a day in which we commemorate all victims of war. Every year, the people of the Netherlands dedicate two minutes of silence at 8pm to honor those who died during the Second World War and in any peacekeeping operations after the Second World War. We then celebrate Liberation Day on Tuesday, 5 May. This is a day where we celebrate that we live in freedom not only in The Netherlands, but around the world.
As an international school with a community that represents over 40 nationalities, Remembrance Day and World War Two both hold a deep significance and are topics that are discussed and taught regularly. We study history and learn about the past in order to guide and inform our future world citizens. While the concepts of freedom and liberty are also part of the curriculum, they have far-reaching and often deeper impacts on students in other areas of the school.
Consider student voice or as it is more commonly referred to now, student activism. At NAISR we provide our students with opportunities to be part of decision-making at all levels - in their classrooms, in the school community and beyond the school walls. Not only does this offer students with leadership opportunities and a sense of personal responsibility, it empowers them with the right to speak, act and think for themselves. It provides them with a degree of freedom - the very freedom they would not have had here in the Netherlands, if not for liberation.
While many of the actions undertaken by student groups are based on the present, we believe the freedom afforded to young people gives them different perspectives and a look at life through different lenses. It could be supporting the UNICEF World Children’s Day, making a stand on climate change or even negotiating a rule change at school. So long as it is relevant and they believe in it.
Hopefully these experiences will also help them to meaningfully reflect on the past as they move into the future. Especially at this time of the year when we remember the release from oppression alongside the freedom from limits on thoughts or behaviour.
We will remember them.
All the best from our family to yours.