Knightswood primary is one of our stand alone Sense over Sectarianism projects. We were asked to deliver a programme as the children had been studying the novel, "Divided City" by Theresa Breslin. The book follows the lives of three young boys who have very different life's growing up in Glasgow. By chance each of them cross paths with each other. The book touches on a number of themes related to sectarianism and racism and challenges the boys every move. The book is a good method of starting to explore sectarianism with the children. Having an insight into some of the issues can be useful as they children are able to relate some if the examples in the book to their own lives.
Sense over Sectarianism has developed a three week programme that complements the novel.
The children continued to learn about the key themes that are associated with sectarianism; prejudice, discrimination and bigotry.
Wallacewell Primary learned that at some point each and every one of us will display prejudice behaviour. The circle of influence is an exercise that explored with the children who and what influences their behaviour
Each group was set the task of drawing three circles. They then had to work together to identify influences, positive or negative and place them in the appropriate circle.
The inner circle would be things or people that are the greatest influence and external circles are an influence but not as much. This exercise highlighted that the children have a choice in the decisions that they make. Ultimately they are responsible for any of the actions they decide to take despite peer pressure or influences.
The children were introduced to key behaviours associated with sectarianism. Fun, interactive activities enabled them to make the link between prejudice (the thinking), discrimination (the doing and actions) and bigotry (behaviour and attitudes that are formed) and how these are related to sectarianism. The children then worked in groups to produce a definition in their own words for each of the behaviours and examples of each behaviour. This exercise got the children working together in teams and the children were able to share experiences with each other, relate to the terms and then able to link them to sectarianism.
Battlefield Primary School had being studying homophobia so when the children were learning about discrimination. We used homophobia in some of the examples and exercises. In one exercise the children were given labels on sexual orientation and had to treat those with a different label in a different manner. This helped the children grasp the behaviour and how discrimination affects people.
The children of Eastbank Primary School worked in groups to produce an action plan of challenging sectarianism. The children were encouraged to think of ideas/steps that were creative but at the same time were realistic and could be put into practice. The children looked at what steps they could do as individuals, their community and those out with their community in positions of power.
Some of the suggestions the children felt would make a difference were increasing CCTV in local estates and not just at football games. Other children felt that there was too much Police presence at football games. The children were keen to educate their peers and their communities about sectarianism. They felt a poster campaign would be a good way of raising awareness and to challenge some of the behaviours associated with sectarianism. Children also felt that there had to be longer jail sentences and more football bans for offenders.