Education Authority launches bilingual story book
During Good Relations Week, the Education Authority (EA) launched “When the Lights Go Out”, a bilingual story book for children in schools in Northern Ireland.
The story, set in locations across Northern Ireland, reflects themes of acceptance, tolerance, trust-building and belonging. It serves as an educational tool for Syrian (and other Arabic-speaking) pupils to help with integration into and learning about Northern Ireland’s geography, languages and culture.
Dr. Clare Mangan, Director of Children and Young Peoples’ Services with EA, says:
“EA is committed to creating resources to help schools meet the needs of their Syrian pupils. In response to teachers’ requests for support in sourcing learning materials to help bring children together, EA has been working with author, Helen Patuck, parents, children and teachers to create a story which all children can enjoy.”
Author of “When the Lights Go Out”, Helen Patuck added:
“Today is an exciting day for everyone involved in creating “When the Lights Go Out”. I hope children will enjoy reading the stories, learn about others and feel confident about sharing their cultures and migration stories, without fear of being different.”
For children in Northern Ireland, the books will help with learning about where refugees and asylum seekers have come from, and the issues they may have experienced on their journey here.
For pupils from Syria, as well as helping them understand more about their new home country, it is hoped that by opening a conversation about the benefits of integration they may gain the confidence needed to tell their own stories.
Each digital book has audio accompaniment in English/Arabic, which means the story can reach children who can’t yet read in either language.
The books will be distributed to schools during the autumn term.