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The situation in Ukraine over the past 2 weeks has understandably triggered considerable response across the world. Given the inescapable media coverage and the gravity of the situation, we felt that it was something that needed to be discussed age appropriately in school.

Earlier this week teachers explored the issues in a way that was suitable to the age and understanding of the children; it became clear that many of our children were very aware and, in some cases, worried by the situation. Overwhelmingly, our focus was on compassion and empathy for those impacted by the invasion of Ukraine.

It provided a context to explore some key societal issues and, in particular, we emphasised the danger of making sweeping generalisations. A key message was that the invasion of Ukraine was an act instigated by President Putin and that many people, including many Russians, are strongly opposed to his decision. It is therefore important to avoid confusing opposition to the invasion and Putin, with negative feelings towards Russia and its people; many of who live in our community.

As usual the children have responded with thoughtfulness, care and maturity. One particular resource that supported staff, may also support you as parents in having further discussions at home so can be accessed via this link.

I’m sure we all stand together as a community in support of the Ukrainian people; those who remain in Ukraine, those who have fled their homes and those in the UK and around the world who are deeply concerned about the lives of their loved ones. Many of us, including children, will want to offer help and support. As a school has looked into whether we can be a hub for donations for refugees but there is a consensus that there are considerable difficulties with donations ending up in landfill at the border so the best support seems to be financial. Two particular charities have been highlighted to us so please use the links below to make a donation:

Ukraine: Emergency Aid with Dignity – Just Giving

Hope and Aid Direct

There is clearly uncertainty about the future, but by talking about these situations, focussing on the facts, sharing perspectives and enabling children to make up their own minds on issues can really help build a positive, supportive culture. We know that in our school community there are those who are more deeply affected due to personal connections to Ukraine, Russia or elsewhere and may also have loved ones they are worried about. For those families, the St. John’s community is here to support you and your children, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if we can help you in any way.

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