A new project aimed at challenging hate crime through literacy will be rolled out in a number of schools across County Durham.
The Heartstone Odyssey project uses an epic adventure story to raise and discuss social issues around identity, challenge stereotypes and promote tolerance within schools.
Children in years five, six and seven will be involved in the project, which is being delivered by Heartstone, a non-profit national organisation which uses stories to raise social and environmental issues with children and young people.
Schools taking part are:
- Bishop Barrington, Bishop Auckland
- Cassop Primary
- Crook Primary
- Easington Colliery Primary
- Finchale Primary
- Parkside Academy, Willington
- South Stanley Junior School
- The Oaks, Spennymoor
- Wearhead Primary, Bishop Auckland
The project, which is being part funded by Education Durham, can be incorporated into the curriculum to help build greater communication and understanding across different nationalities, cultures and background and see past stereotypes and prejudice.
Staff from the schools have taken part in a training day at Durham Leadership Centre, with another planned for January, and will also receive on-going support from Education Durham and the Heartstone team.
Kathryn Henderson, learning resources co-ordinator at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted that the Heartstone project is coming to Durham and I know those who took part in the training day are now looking forward to getting started with their pupils.
“Promoting tolerance in our schools is more important than ever and projects which help incorporate these messages into the curriculum are of real benefit to our pupils.”
Sita Kumari, director at Heartstone, said: “Heartstone stories are about seeing people, not prejudice, and that there is always more than one perspective to a story.
“We are delighted to see it take shape in Durham with school children who over the next six months will be reading ’The Heartstone Odyssey’ and using the exhibition images as a vehicle through which to raise these issues at this particularly relevant and crucial time.”