Eglinton P.S. pupils focus in on homelessness

Oran McConomy, Katie Logue, Jodie Cowan, Ann Barr, Emma McKnight and Oliver Orr.
Oran McConomy, Katie Logue, Jodie Cowan, Ann Barr, Emma McKnight and Oliver Orr.

Pupils at a local primary school are helping to promote awareness about homelessness after learning about the issue in their class.

The Primary Six pupils from Eglinton Primary School have been receiving great praise for their understanding.

Vice Principal Julie Crooks said the project evolved out of the new resources released by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

She said teachers then have flexibility to build around this and focus in on a topic.

The initiative was designed to help develop the children’s awareness and understanding and addressing stereotyping.

“There were lots of lessons and we developed wall displays and other work and the children were really, really enthused and have been showing great understanding.”

At the start of the project the children were given the opportunity to describe what homelessness meant to them by drawing a picture of a homeless person and they then went on to discuss how there are actually so many reasons a person can become homeless.
They also discussed different types of homelessness including hidden homelessness and sofa surfing.”

The school then also made contact with Help The Homeless Help charity, which raises funds which are then distributed in the form of grants to charities and voluntary organisations working with homeless people.

“They came out and talked to the children and on Monday [of last week], and delivered a power point presentation. The children had a brilliant lesson they were impressed with how the children had started to show understanding.”

Julie Crooks said the project has been great in terms of promoting social awareness among primary school pupils as well as developing empathy and understanding and highlighting the different charities operating locally.

“That is all part of the statutory curriculum developing understanding of the world around them, and it has been brilliant,” she said.

The children have become so interested in the subject that the school are now planning to organise a fundraising event at the school in the near future, with details still being finalised. They also hope to raise awareness of the various charities and resources available to people who find themselves homeless.

Help The Homeless meanwhile has stressed that the real reasons for being homeless vary enormously, but may include ill-health, addiction or those who experience adverse circumstances.

Help The Homless representatives have said they are willing to go to more local schools to continue to raise awareness, and can be contacted through their social media page.

To find out more information about the work of the Help The Homeless charity check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/helpthehomelessderry/