2001 –
OPEN-MINDEDNESS

In September 2021, George Webster joined the BBC CBeebies team as the UK’s first children’s and BBC television presenter with Down syndrome.

People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome (47 instead of the usual 46). The extra chromosome causes differences in the way a child develops. Often it is perceived that people with Down syndrome have limitations on their abilities. However, George’s parents made sure that George was given the same opportunities that children without his condition have. That has led George to not only become a CBeebies presenter, but also an actor, a dancer and an ambassador for Mencap and Parkrun. Even though George is only 20 years old, he’s accomplished quite a bit. He hopes to continue to help change the view that many people have about Down syndrome.

Are you looking to focus on open-mindedness this week?

Our teacher’s guide is a handy starting place. We explore how to recognise and encourage open-mindedness in the classroom and how to promote it. Our primary site also has a version for primary teachers.

Beulah Henry was an amazing 20th century inventor, who was responsible for items such as the ice cream freezer, vacuum and handbag. It would have been strange at her time for a woman to be considered as a competent inventor; but she had both great vision and open-mindedness. Like George Webster, her mindset drove her to overcome what would have not been possible for a woman to achieve at that time, and in doing so change the perception of how women were viewed as inventors and businesswomen; just as George is changing the perception of what might be possible for those with Down syndrome.

Take a look at Beulah’s full story on the site….

Are there ways that we can help change the mindset of how we might view people with disability in our society?

One example might be spreading awareness or taking on an advocacy project like highlighting the achievements, breaking of barriers (opening mindsets) and celebrating the lives of loved ones with Down syndrome on World Down Syndrome Day.

Each year World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21st.  The date represents the triplication (three copies) of chromosome 21.

There are a few ways to join in the celebration for example:

Wearing odd socks (if allowed to at school) – being open to differences between us;

Wearing 3 pairs of socks (representing the triplication of chromosome 21);

Wearing blue and yellow clothing (the colours associated with Down syndrome).

Some Useful Resources:

Campaign for Down syndrome awareness

Video on what DS is (suitable for Secondary students)

George’s Myth-Busting Video

Photo Copyright BBC