This month the children's charity Coram launched a new teaching toolkit which aims to increase understanding of the experiences of migrant children and young people in order to improve integration and inclusion in schools.
The 'Belonging Toolkit' has been co-produced by Coram's Young Citizen's programme, for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, and specialist educators from Coram Life Education.
The toolkit includes lesson plans, teachers' guidance on immigration, and films and activities exploring the theme of belonging to help enrich school values including empathy for others and respect for diversity. Designed for key stages 2 and 3 (ages 9-13) the toolkit supports British Values and Citizenship requirements in the curriculum.
Harriet Gill, Managing Director of Education and Wellbeing at Coram said:
'In the wake of Brexit and concerns about divisions within an increasingly multi-cultural society, we need to examine the role of schools in creating a more cohesive, integrated Britain. By promoting empathy and inclusion, our new toolkit can help schools to strengthen their values and make a real difference in all pupil's lives.'
Vicki Aldous is a teacher at Northgate Primary School in Norfolk, one of the schools that piloted the toolkit. Vicky said:
'We are a nurturing school and do our best to make everyone feel welcome and valued. From an early age children are encouraged to work together and consider the feelings of others. Coram gave us the chance to asses the children's understanding of belonging and their part in making others feel welcome and valued.'
One of the children in her class said the lesson helped him to understand that 'one tiny thing can make someone feel bad. You need to be careful how you talk to a new person'
Farid, one of the young people from the Young Citizen's programme who were involved in producing the toolkit said:
'It's important to teach from a young age the imporance of being welcoming. For young people from other countries being welcomed makes them feel like they fit, it makes this country feel like home. When a young person feels like they belong, they can make friends, they can integrate. We want to communicate the importance of belonging and making young people feel like they belong across the country.
The Belonging Toolkit is free to access.