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How to support Syrian child

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Brommie, May 3, 2017.

  1. Brommie

    Brommie New commenter

    I have a new girl starting in my Year 5 class on Monday. She arrived from Syria last week with her family and siblings (2 brothers at Secondary and little sister in Year R). She has no English and we have no Arabic. How best can we support her and her family? We will print off resources from ****** etc but I could do with some other ways to help her. We are a small school in the countryside and have no other EAL children so this is a new challenge for us.
  2. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    Purely my opinion but I would do the following:
    • Give/make her a picture dictionary system similar to the Pecs used with autistic children to provide her with some form of communication
    • Ensure that her support has experience teaching English as a foreign language so that the instruction she receives is useful
    • Integrate her in the class by providing opportunities for her peers to get to know her and likewise. A daily slot of 5 mins doing different things, encouraging her peers to be empathetic and friendly towards her
    • Source a decent online translator!
    She will pick up lots of English if she makes friends so I would try to encourage the others to talk to her as much as possible.
    bonxie likes this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    google translate!

    vocab book, but only a couple of new words a day.

    Lots of smiles, reassurance, and fun, non verbal activities,

    give her a buddy who is kind and sympathetic and reliable.( maybe a pair of buddies)

    simple flash cars to take home every vening.

    Communicate with parents ( through google translate if necessary) email is good! Face to face too. Smile at parents a lot as well,specially if they don't speak English, pat child on head in front of parents, exaggerate to demonstrate that she is welcome and you like having her in the class.

    Simple cartoons in English for beginner speakers, Muzzy if you can get it, or similar, with basic English, and have her watch it over and over again, encourage her to repeat phrases, and vocab. She can watch the same presentation first thing in the morning, then at intervals throughout the day.

    We have beginner speakers arrive a couple of times a month.....
  4. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    @dunnocks pat her on the head? I can't think of anything more embarrassing. OP, I would suggest you find out what the acceptable local customs are in Syria before touching the child. Remember, she is in Year 5... some children at that age can be taller than teachers. I'd never pat a child on the head though.
    minnie me and bonxie like this.
  5. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    You would be surprised, I have had many ways of miming to parents that there child is doing well, and I am pleased with them ! patting on the head very much has its place.
  7. Landofla

    Landofla Established commenter

    I have my ways too - usually in the stock phrases in their languages which I have learnt. Patting on the head is best left for 'duck, duck, goose' games in my opinion and even then I have heard children say they would rather be patted on the shoulder to avoid messing up their hair.
    bonxie likes this.
  8. gerdmuller

    gerdmuller New commenter

    We have a few Syrian families who came to our school last year. Find out if they have an allocated support worker and get their number ASAP.

    Some children will come with PTSD and some pretty horrific sights in their memories. I've had to vet every book I've read this year for triggers.

    Google Translate has been pretty helpful, but the children who we have taken are highly motivated: they spent the six weeks holiday being hot-housed in English by one fluent parent, visiting museums, galleries and libraries, so it's no surprise they they're motoring on.
    dunnocks, palmtree100 and Landofla like this.
  9. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    shoulder is fine too! The point I am making is that if you have a non English speaking child with non English speaking parents, exageraratedly mimed gestures of good will are often the best reassurance you can give.
  10. justamum

    justamum New commenter

    The Syrian refugees at our school are supported by the Refugee Council. They can supply a translator if needed and funding can be accessed (via our Ethnic Minority Attainment team). We use a keyring with important symbols - including toilet - to indicate need. Google translate is useful. Appoint some buddies - if noone in school speaks Arabic, this can be an onerous task, so more than one is good - to show her round. Use pictures/ gestures as much as possible. Although not a fan of copying, I allow our older new to English speakers to copy at first to make them feel included. Racing to English is a useful resource.
    We have over 100 EAL pupils, but our most recent Syrian refugee in KS2 arrived just before Christmas and is now speaking and writing in simple sentences in English.
    Landofla and bonxie like this.

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