Throughout the summer we have again seen familiar images of dinghies of migrants arriving on our shores in the UK, knowing there are similar stories like this happening every day in many different parts of the world.
It was July when the BBC ran with “Migrant crossings into Britain hit new record,” while other headlines steered our thinking towards issues like “Fury as French warship escorts migrants to UK waters.”
Then came the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which again shone the spotlight on migrants and their stories.
So I tried to find some figures to better understand the size of the issue. The UN’s Refugee Agency UNHCR says here https://www.unhcr.org/uk/figures-at-a-glance.html that “at the end of 2020 as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order, 82.4 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced. Staggering, no?
Journos and editors in the UK tend to shape the narrative around the political issues that of course require debate. But how helpful that is to curious kids asking questions about the news? What’s the conversation that parents and teachers are having with their kids?
“Fender and Fang – what’s in the box?” is a great conversation starter. Our favourite street dogs are out at night, exploring (again!). Their curiosity takes them to a new part of town, where an unexpected discovery sparks a fun adventure. It’s a positive tale that helps kids to build empathy and be curious about the personal stories of the characters and their journeys. After all, why might someone need to leave their home?
The Deputy Head at of our member schools that has a high percentage of EAL (English as an Alternative Language) pupils said: “Our Year 6s did ‘What’s in the box?’ today. The children told me they loved it. They said they liked the story, it was important to learn about and because it was a poem it felt more meaningful. Better in a poem than a lesson!! Lots to talk about - all their comments.”
Thank you, year 6s. Already working on the sequel(s).