Supporting Refugee and War-Affected Children

Outline for a three day workshop (workshops can be condensed to one or two days):

Day 1

  • The impact of war on children around the world (child soldiers, gender issues, landmines)
  • Country specific conflicts
  • Pre-migration experiences of children who have come from countries of war (trauma, violence, abuse, torture, displacement and relocation)
  • Trans-migration and the journey to Canada (life in camps, insecurity, hope)
  • What it means to be a refugee
  • The demographic shift: Why Canada needs newcomers and why we need to develop a long term strategy for integration (welcoming communities)

Day 2

  • Educational issues and challenges for refugee students in Canada
  • Racism and discrimination and what this means for the school and community
  • Working within the context of the family unit and the community groups
  • Psychosocial and environmental challenges
  • The impact on the adults who work with war-affected children

Day 3

  • Systems that support refugee students
  • Best practices for supporting refugee children and youth in the classroom
  • Non-western ways of assisting
  • Therapeutic activities to support psychosocial development
  • Community agencies and networking possibilities
  • Recommendations for policy and practice (school, community, division, government)
  • Vicarious trauma/ Secondary trauma: Looking after the caregivers

Throughout the three days, I will provide participants with practical strategies and numerous activities that teachers and counsellors could use to help refugee children and youth. I will provide these lessons in a context for helping support the healing of children/youth and I will provide several examples of how these activities could be adapted to meet the needs of children and youth in a variety of educational settings.

The four clusters of activities include:

  1. self-expression and personal awareness;
  2. working through difficult issues (e.g., anger, grief, trauma, flashbacks, loss, family separation);
  3. identifying accomplishments, support systems and resilience factors;
  4. promoting peace in the school and community.

The collection of 42 lessons are included in the course manual (Supporting Refugee Children). Examples include art therapy, storytelling, music, dance, and drama.

The content of war and children is emotional and often very difficult for people to process the information in an intensive workshop. I deliberately include activities, lessons, and discussion points to help participants work through the issues and to not feel overwhelmed by the content. I also like to include time throughout the three days where participants have the opportunity to discuss their own experiences of working with refugee children and youth. My hope is that the participants would use what they have learned in this workshop as a catalyst for change in their own work setting. The overarching purpose is for all participants to acquire new strategies and a renewed sense of energy so that they can better support the educational and psychosocial development of refugee children.

Interested? Email Jan to book your workshop today!