National project educating children about prejudice coming to Calderdale schools

A national project aimed at educating young people about prejudice and intolerance is coming to Calderdale schools.

By Ian Hirst
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 12:00 pm

The work, co-ordinated by the Council’s School Effectiveness Service, will see children at eight schools in the borough participating in the Heartstone’s Story Circle project, working with poets, dancers, artists, musicians, historians and sculptors and studying books in the Heartstone Odyssey trilogy.

The story of the Heartstone Odyssey is a fictional tale of adventure, magic, mystery and suspense which starts in the late 1700s reaching into the current time. Part of the story takes place in Yorkshire in the early 1800s.

Aimed at nine to 12-year-olds, it also deals with issues of racism and prejudice, generating discussion and debate as well as developing literacy skills.

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Pupils in the classroom

The work will build up to a new national Heartstone Odyssey Book Festival to take place in July 2022 involving schools across the North West region.

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Calderdale Council’s Interim Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Councillor Sarah Courtney, said: “This is a unique opportunity for children in Calderdale to be part of a national initiative to tackle hate and prejudice. Through the power of storytelling, the Heartstone project will allow children to better understand the importance of tolerance and initiate challenging conversations and debate.

“Pupils taking part will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of creative projects, whilst building up to the national book festival in July. The festival will include contributors from around the world, all with the common ambition of tackling discrimination and educating the next generation to be more understanding and tolerant of people’s differences.”

The Calderdale primary schools taking part in this work are Castlehill, Colden, Northowram, West Vale, Trinity St. Peter’s, Calder Learning Trust, Cross Lane and Cliffe Hill.

The schools have started to prepare contributions of artwork, poetry and other creative items.

Pupils will also have the opportunity to visit Calderdale libraries and museums and take part in workshops.

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