Pupils from Holy Cross Catholic Primary School in Fulham took part in an antisemitism workshop last week as part of the Chelsea Foundation’s ongoing education and diversity programmes.
The Foundation have been running equality and diversity programmes for schoolchildren since 2016 and in honour of Holocaust Memorial Day this Sunday (January 27) the youngsters aged 9-10 explored the importance and impact of the Holocaust and antisemitism.
Following the educational section of the workshop the pupils subsequently showcased what they had learned by forming groups and preparing a poem or rap about antisemitism and presenting to the class and the Foundation staff in attendance.
Year 5 teacher Mariam Hidayat-Brown said: ‘It was such a valuable experience for the children. There are words they won’t hear in their day to day lives so to help them understand and comprehend such an important issue is invaluable.
‘They had a unique opportunity to play with and understand words like diversity, equality and of course antisemitism through the poem which will aid the learning.
‘At Holy Cross we work hard to promote the values of equality and diversity so to have Chelsea come in and reinforce that is beneficial for the children.
‘The kids love Chelsea coming in, we have lots of Chelsea fans and football fans in general so there is no doubt they enjoyed it!’
The workshop at Holy Cross is part of the club’s Say No to Antisemitism campaign with education at the centre of the initiative which began in January 2018.
Chelsea Foundation schools education manager Sam Gaskin-Kemp planned and ran the session and believes educating the next generation on the Holocaust and other cultural and religious issues is crucial to their development.
She said: ‘The session is part of the Foundation’s equality and diversity workshops with the focus of this lesson being the Jewish faith and the problem of antisemitism.
‘As a club we are very diverse, we work in diverse communities and have diverse fans so it is really important to educate the next generation about diversity and equality.
‘This of course links to the club’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign which focuses on education across all our communities, including within schools.
‘I was so impressed with the children. They are only nine and 10 but some had already read about Anne Frank and they were so engaged in the subject and eager to learn more.
‘It is a difficult subject to grasp and understand, at any age, but they were able to associate it with their day to lives and by the end of it have a basic understanding of the subject.
‘This is a great opportunity for the Foundation to help educate the next generation and broaden our work. To have the club lead on this campaign helps spread the message as children respond to the links to football, I am excited to continue this work.’