Pupils at a Teesside primary School have created a special exhibition and learning space to mark Refugee Week (19-25 June).
It is the fifth successive year that Crooksbarn Primary School in Norton has supported the worldwide campaign which is designed to raise awareness of refugees and the challenges they face in seeking sanctuary.
Jane Whittaker, a nursery teacher at Crooksbarn and Art Lead for the school, said: “For the past five years, we have celebrated Refugee Week in school. Most of our children identify as White British, and it is important to give the children the opportunity to find out more about people from other cultures and races and why they may want to seek refuge in the UK.
“As a school, this has made us more aware of the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face in our local community and it has made us more determined than ever to provide help to those who need it.”
Jane continued: “As part of Refugee Week celebrations, we have been inspired by Yoko Ono’s inclusive and impactful sculpture, ‘Add Colour’, to create a piece of artwork that aims to show the contrast between happy childhood memories and the stark reality faced by many children in the world today.
“For most children, the sea is a magical place that conjures up memories of special visits to the seaside or of being on holiday. It reminds us of building sandcastles, enjoying an ice-cream on a hot summer day or of trying to make footprints in the sand before the tide washes them away.
“However, for some children the sea is a reminder of a perilous journey that was undertaken to find safety or of a barrier between themselves and the hope of a better life. We hope that our artwork will raise awareness of the plight of the 36 million displaced children around the world.”
Crooksbarn is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Headteacher Chris Twiby commented: “This has been a fabulous project which has really raised awareness across our wider school community and help promotes our ethos of inclusivity.
“For our children to be involved in respectful discussions around such a huge and important global issue has really helped them in terms of understanding how everyone can play a part, no matter how old you are or where you come from.”