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Ministry of Education Works to Better Teach Young Refugees

Schools across B.C. now have a resource to help them teach new young Canadians.

With Syrian refugees immigrating to Canada, new students will be enrolled in schools across the province.

To assist teachers and administrators, the B.C. Ministry of Education has released ‘Students from Refugee Backgrounds - A Guide for Teachers and Schools’.

The handout was first created in 2009, and now has been revised.

The new one focuses on practical ways that schools, parents and students can help make newcomers feel welcome and safe, according to a release from the Ministry.

"We want to make sure refugees feel welcome as they arrive in B.C. schools because that is essential to their long term success,” said Mike Bernier, Minister of Education, in a statement. “We also want teachers, parents and school staff to understand some of the obstacles individuals and families have had to face, as well as the strengths they bring to British Columbia."

Bernier hopes the school system can help refugees adjust to communities in B.C.

The guide explains the potential psychological effects of violence, as well as the difference between being an immigrant and a refugee, when it comes to resettling.

"I welcome the release of this updated guide in response to the Syrian refugee resettlement initiative,” said Chris Friesen, director of settlement services for the Immigrant Services Society of B.C., in a statement. “Refugee learners bring resilience and many assets into the classroom as well as face unique settlement challenges.

“Better understanding refugee learners and approaches to make classrooms and schools more inclusive are critically important."

Along with the guide, educators will get information on Syrian refugees, the education system in Syria, the Syrian conflict and further aspects of Syrian culture.

The guide also lists community, provincial and federal supports for newcomers.

The updated guide is available online.