From Monday June 17th to Friday June 21st, Central Primary celebrated Refugee Week through a range of activities designed to help children learn about current issues facing those who have fled their countries due to persecution on the grounds of faith, political opinion, social group, ethnicity or race.
Through a tailor-made Guided Reading text, video clips and/or a PowerPoint presentation, the children found out about the “Refugee” definition as per the 1951 Convention on Refugees, and discussed their feelings on whether it is fair that those affected by natural disasters or poverty are not included in the official definition. We also explored some of the challenges of the asylum process in the UK and the misinformation spread about refugees by the media, and learned how important it is to celebrate all that refugees–and migrants in general– bring to the UK.
On Wednesday June 19th, KS2 children were then able to hear first-hand from several individuals involved in helping refugees, asylum seekers and homeless people in the Watford area. Dame Helen Hyde, Ummi Minerali, Rev. Tony Rindl, Pastor Ashkan Sarmadi and John Dowdle represented Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Humanist beliefs respectively and shared the degree to which their actions in support of those displaced is motivated by their faith. The children were amazed that most of the speakers had been encouraged by both personal and faith related factors to support vulnerable groups, that they would help any person regardless of their faith or origin, and that they saw the importance of working together across the faith and secular community to bring the most effective help possible.
A warm thank you to our wonderful speakers for giving up their time and giving our children so much to think about–the focus and excellent behaviour of the whole of Key Stage 2 showed how motivated and engaged they all were!
Meanwhile, Key Stage 1 continued exploring some of the key themes through listening to stories like “I am not a refugee”, “Whisper of hope” or “The journey” , and through discussion with their teachers.
Next year, we would like to focus our attention on internal displacement and to hold an event to celebrate the cultural, linguistic and culinary treasures brought to the UK by refugees. If any of you have any contacts which may help us, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Miss Rieger via the school office.