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Grade 5 Projects Shed Light on Global Politics of Migration

Senior and Junior School student work together.

Grade 5 students at GNS showcased their deep understanding of global politics through a compelling exhibition on migration, presented to Grade 11 students. The students created diverse projects, each shedding light on different aspects of migration, its challenges and the human stories behind it.

Faye delved into the historical context of British children, revealing the hardships they faced when coming to Canada as servants. She expressed her excitement about sharing her project with Grade 11s, emphasizing the cultural impact of British migration on Canada, suggesting that dances and cultural elements may have been brought over and endured through time.

Faye showcases her project about British children.

Breanna explored the fascinating topic of war brides, highlighting the sacrifices made during wartime. Her project focused on the wives who moved to Canada in 1943 to keep their families safe while their husbands served in the war.

Grade 5 teacher, Sarah Wallace, explained the connection between Grade 5 and Grade 11 projects, emphasizing the collaboration and knowledge exchange between the two grades. She mentioned that Grade 11 students had previously showcased their projects when they were in Grade 5, creating a cycle of mirrored learning experiences.

“The Grade 11 central idea is migration and human rights, and human rights challenges posed by migration,” she explained. “In Grade 5 it is all about challenges and opportunities within migration so there is this overarching theme that ties together really nicely.”

Victor’s project delved into the Syrian refugee crisis, illustrating the challenging journey refugees undertake to reach Canada. He emphasized the importance of understanding the complexities of the Syrian war and advocated for providing a safe haven for refugees, and that countries should always try to welcome people in need if they can.

Victor showcases his project on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Olivia’s project focused on the migration of Irish people to Canada during the potato famine. She narrated the struggles they faced, from eviction by the British to the perilous journey on coffin ships. The reason they are known as coffin ships is because many people died of typhus or starvation during their travels. Olivia highlighted the hardships those who survived endured, including quarantine on arrival, before seeking employment in fishing or farming.

Olivia’s project demonstrates the migration of Irish people to Canada during the potato famine.

Jake contributed a poignant poem titled “Far From Family,” capturing both the child’s and adult’s perspectives on migration. The poem touched on the emotional challenges faced by migrants, emphasizing the uncertainty and fear experienced by children uprooted from their homes.

A line from the poem goes like this, from the child’s perspective: The cold breeze was too powerful, I struggled for warmth in the orphanage, I was abandoned and this was now my home, I had to deal with that but the uncertainty of me even making it to tomorrow frightened me.

The exhibition illustrated the depth of knowledge and research undertaken by Grade 5 students but also highlighted the interconnectedness of global politics, history and human experiences that Grade 11 students are studying, too.

Grade 11 students expressed their appreciation for the insights gained from the Grade 5 projects.

One Grade 11 student, Polina, reflected that she really enjoyed how thoughtfully the Grade 5 students expressed their minds. “After that you realize that the future is in powerful hands.”

Sabine, another Grade 11 student, said that she enjoyed talking to the kids and seeing what they created. “It was super interesting seeing their work and how they could represent a migration story.”

The following week, the Grade 11 students had the opportunity to welcome the Grade 5 students to the Senior School campus to continue their collaborative learning. One Grade 11 student, Owen Krigolson, said they’ve learned about the intersection of migration and human rights and how they’re connected.

“The Grade 5s have learned a lot about what migration means and crossing borders and family history, and in our Global Politics 11 class, we’ve been learning a lot about human rights and what it means for people to have human rights or lack thereof,” said Owen.

Grade 11 Teacher, Ms. Thomson, said the tie here is that both grades are learning about migration as a global issue. “We’ve come together on this unit to share what we learn.

We’re looking at migration in a modern context. So they’re going to look at the US-Mexico border, they’re going to look at Syrian refugees coming to Europe and then also to Canada, and then look at it through that lens of human rights, and how are they protected or violated through this whole process.”

These exhibitions stand as a testament to the power of education in nurturing empathy and understanding the complex issues surrounding migration and human rights.