MOST CHILDREN across Fermanagh would have been appalled at the idea of Santa not visiting last week, but the pupils at the Holy Trinity Primary School know the festive season can be celebrated very differently in some homes in the community.
Many families from across the world have made their home in Fermanagh over the years, and they have brought with them their own traditions. At Holy Trinity Primary School in Enniskillen this cultural diversity been celebrated in the run up to the festive season.
The school has pupils whose families hail from as far away as Russia, the Philippines, China and Syria, and many more from all over Europe. These children are from a wide range of religious backgrounds, such as Islam, Pentecostalism, Church of Ireland, Hinduism, Catholicism, and of no religion at all.
Primary 2 head Janette Mongon’s children have been working on a project with their parents and grandparents focussing on their own traditions, including those surrounding Christmas. She said it had given them all the chance to experience diversity and learn about respect and tolerance.
“It’s a wee bit more normalised to them now so whenever they grow up they’ll be used to respecting other traditions and are aware not everyone does things the same way they do,” she said. “Even just for some children to understand Santa doesn’t feature in all cultures. Even within some Christian cultures Santa didn’t really feature.”
Ms Mongon said she felt celebrating diversity was good for all involved.
“It’s lovely for all the children to feel confident about their differences, that they are respected and celebrated,” she said of the project. “The other children were very respectful about it.
“There is a code of respect in the classroom for everyone to share their differences. That helps later on if children feel different in a different way, pastorally, it’s good to have that atmosphere in the classroom.”
Holy Trinity principal Brian Treacy said having children from such diverse backgrounds was of benefit to all at the school, and explained it was in keeping with the Catholic school ethos of the gospel teachings of love and respect.
“The children who have come from other parts of the world have brought a richness and a diversity and an example of cultures from other parts of the world.
“That has enriched our school, and it’s important we embrace that and celebrate it and learn from it, and it’s also important we embrace and celebrate and nurture our own culture as well,” he said, adding the local mummers had called recently to show off Fermanagh’s Christmas traditions.
Posted: 9:39 am January 4, 2019
Last week saw the Lakeland Forum staging the Fermanagh and Western Indoor soccer competitions for Fermanagh’s schools.