Introduction to a Themed Approach: Journeys
It is possible to include teaching about refugees within a themed approach.
The topic of 'Journeys' works well to include all children's experience of journeys, while offering the opportunity to learn more about each other, and about others in the world.
Below is the outline of some of the work undertaken by Broadwater Primary School in Wandsworth, South London.
The whole school spent a half term on the topic of journeys. This took place in June, to contextualise their celebration of Refugee Week. The benefits of a whole school and in-depth approach are apparent in the subsequent displays which adorned the school that term – any child looking at them could connect with the subject matter.
As a general approach, it is often helpful to work from the children's own experience --> a fictionalised account --> a personal testimony --> a response by the children. The space for a response is important to ensure that children are not left feeling distressed and hopeless as a result of the work.
Here are some of the activities which the classes undertook:
- Find someone who...
- What would you take?
- The Worst thing ... ( a chance to reflect on the experience of forced migration)
- Petar's Diary
- The Kindertransport in the Second World War
- Zimbabwe (a contact from Zimbabwe talked to a group of children)
- My Safe Place
Each year group did a combination of activities suited to their level of understanding and the opportunities offered by the curriculum. The introductory activities can be adapted: for example, older children can use the 'What would you take?' activity as a stimulus for discussion and creative writing, while it serves as an activity in its own right for the younger groups.
They were lucky to have a connection with someone who had been a child on the Kindertransport, and who was willing to come and talk to the children who had previously learned about the 2nd World War in history. They also had a personal connection with Zimbabwe.
Thanks to the staff and children of Broadwater Primary School for permission to use their work as a source of inspiration.